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wo   White   Rajahs 


S.  Baring  Gould 


A   History   of  Sarawak 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2011  with  funding  from 

University  of  Toronto 


http://www.archive.org/details/historyofsarawakOObari 


A  History  of  Sarawak 

under  its 

Two  White  Rajahs 

1839-1908 


BY 

S.    BARING-GOULD,    M.A. 

AUTHOR  OF  '  THE  TRAGEDY  OF  THE  CAESARS,'  ETC. 
AND 

C.    A.    BAMPFYLDE,    F.R.G.S. 

I. ATE    RESIDENT    OF    SARAWAK 


LONDON 
HENRY    SOTHERAN    &    CO. 

37    PICCADILLY,    W.,    and    140    STRAND,    W.C. 
1909 


.3* 

3$1 


DEDICATED 

WITH    HIGH    APPRECIATION    OF    THE    WORK    DONE    BY    THEM 
UNDER    THE    TWO    RAJAHS 

TO    THE    OFFICERS 

ENGLISH    AND    NATIVE,     PAST    AND    PRESENT 
OF    THE 

RAJ    OF    SARAWAK 


PREFACE 

As  I  have  been  requested  to  write  a  preface  to  The  History 
of  Sarawak  under  its  Two  White  Rajahs,  one  of  whom  I 
have  the  honour  to  be,  I  must,  first  of  all,  assert  that  I 
have  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  composition  or  writing  of 
the  book,  and  1  do  not  profess  to  be  a  writer,  otherwise 
than  in  a  very  ordinary  sense,  having  left  school  at  the  age 
of  twelve  to  enter  the  Navy. 

In  that  service  I  remained  for  ten  years,  when  I  obtained 
my  lieutenancy,  and  then  received  two  years'  leave,  which 
the  Admiralty  were  glad  to  grant  at  that  time  (about  1852), 
as  they  thought  naval  officers  were  of  a  type  likely  to  be 
of  service  in  the  development  of  the  colonies  and  the 
improvement  of  native  states.  I  then  went  to  Sarawak  to 
join  my  uncle,  the  first  Rajah,  with  and  under  whom  I 
remained,  and  consequently  had  to  retire  from  the  Navy  ; 
but  I  will  admit  that  my  ten  years'  service  gave  me  what  I 
probably  could  not  have  gained  from  any  other  profession — 
the  advantages  of  having  been  taught  to  obey  my  seniors, 
and  of  having  been  disciplined  ;  and  I  very  firmly  adhere 
to  the  rule  that  no  one  can  make  a  successful  commander 
unless  he  has  learnt  to  obey.  It  further  taught  me  those 
seafaring  qualities,  which   have  been  so  useful  ever  since,  of 

vii 


viii  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

being  able  to  rough  it  and  put  up  with  one's  surroundings, 
the  lack  of  which  so  often  makes  the  men  of  the  present 
day,  in  their  refined  and  gentlemanly  way,  not  quite  suited 
to  handle  the  wheel  of  a  ship  at  sea  or  the  plough  on  land. 

Now  I  will  pass  on  to  say  how  this  book,  good  or  bad 
as  it  may  be — and  I  am  not  competent  to  pass  judgment 
either  way — came  to  be  written.  I  was  asked  by  more  than 
one  if  I  had  any  objection  to  the  writing  of  my  biography, 
and  I,  as  far  as  I  can  recollect,  gave  no  decided  answer  one 
way  or  the  other  ;  but  I  thought  if  I  handed  over  the 
correspondence  and  all  records  that  related  to  Sarawak  and 
its  Government  that  the  distinguished  author,  Baring-Gould, 
and  my  friend,  Charles  Bampfylde,  might  be  enabled  to 
form  a  truthful  account,  and  at  the  same  time  give  the 
public  a  readable  book. 

1  thought  that  some  interest  might  be  felt  in  the  story 
of  a  life  such  as  mine  has  been  for  the  last  sixty  years, 
coupled  with  an  account  of  the  institutions,  manners,  and 
customs  of  the  inhabitants  of  Sarawak,  and  especially  of  the 
way  in  which  we  have  always  treated  the  native  population, 
rinding  much  profit  by  it,  more  in  kindliness  and  sympathy 
than  in  a  worldly  point  of  view,  by  making  them  our 
friends,  and  I  may  say  associates,  though  they  are  of  a 
different  creed  and  different  colour  ;  and  how  we  gained 
their  hearts  by  living  among  them  and  really  knowing  them, 
not  as  superiors,  but  as  equals  and  friends  ;  and  I  thought 
being  brought  out  during  my  life  by  the  pen  of  the  able 
author  and  that  of  my  old  and  much-esteemed  officer,  Mr. 
Bampfylde,  it  would  be  more  likely  to  give  a  correct  impres- 
sion than  if  some  one  took  up  the  pen  after  my  death  and 
gained  material  from  some  good   and  some  rather  scratchy 


PREFACE  ix 

works  that  have  been  written  on  Sarawak,  since  such  an  one 
would  probably  make  up  a  work  that  would  be,  no  doubt, 
very  readable  and  well  adapted  to  take  the  fashion  of  the 
day,  but  not  so  truthful  as  a  man  of  long  personal  ex- 
perience could  do,  and  has,  I  think,  done  it  ;  and  this  I  can 
aver,  that  what  is  written  are  facts,  however  plain  and 
uninteresting  they  may  prove.  The  work  is  not  the  history 
of  my  life  more  than  that  of  the  late  Rajah,  and  I  may 
flatter  myself  that  we — he  as  founder  and  myself  as  builder 
of  the  state — have  been  one  in  our  policy  throughout,  from 
the  beginning  up  to  the  present  time ;  and  now  shortly  I 
have  to  hand  it  to  my  son,  and  I  hope  that  his  policy  may 
not  be  far  removed  from  that  of  his  predecessors. 

My  life  draws  towards  its  close,  but  the  book,  if  and 
whenever  brought  out,  will  stand  in  the  future  as  a  record 
of  events  that  may  be  considered  as  the  work  of  private 
individuals  who  stood  alone  and  unprotected  in  a  far  distant 
land,  and  who  were,  I  may  also  say,  fortunately,  scarcely 
ever  interfered  with,  or  the  policy  of  Sarawak  could  not 
have  been  as  successful  as  it  has  proved.  It  will,  I  have 
reason  to  believe,  attract  more  attention  in  comparatively 
new  countries,  such  as  America  and  Australia,  where  the 
story  of  Sarawak  is  perhaps  better  known  than  in  England. 
One  word  more,  and  that  is,  that  the  native  element  has 
always  been  our  base  and  strong  point  :  and  our  lives  are 
safe  with  them  so  long  as  they  are  wisely  treated  and  relied 
on  with  thorough  trust  and  confidence. 

C.   BROOKE, 

Rajah. 
Chesterton,  %th  January  1909. 


CONTENTS 


Preface Page  via 

Malay  Titles ,,    xxi 

CHAPTER    I 

BORNEO 

Geographical  and  geological  description — Its  jungles — Natural  history — Races  of 
men  in  Sarawak — Census — Area — Climate        .  .  .  Pages  1-35 

CHAPTER    II 

EARLY    HISTORY 

Early  Chinese  and  Hindu -Javanese  influence,  and  settlements  —  Rise  of  the 
Malays — Their  sultanates  in  Borneo — European  intercourse  with  Northern 
Borneo  from  1 521- 1803 — Decline  of  Bruni — Earliest  records  of  Sarawak — 
English  and  Dutch  in  the  Malayan  Archipelago  and  Southern  Borneo  from 
1595 — Trade  monopolies  an  impulse  to  piracy — How  the  Sea-Dayaks  became 
pirates — Cession  of  Bruni  territory  to  Sulu — Transferred  to  the  East  India 
Company  —  Events  in  Bruni  that  led  to  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  becoming 
Regent  —  His  transfer  to  Sarawak  —  Oppression  and  depopulation  of  the 
Land-Dayaks  —  Condition  of  North-West  Borneo  in  1839  —  List  of  the 
Sultans  of  Bruni 36-60 


CHAPTER    III 

THE    MAKING    OF    SARAWAK 

Early  life  of  James  Brooke — First  visit  to  Sarawak — Condition  of  the  country — 
Dutch  trading  regulations — Brooke  offered  the  Raj-ship — He  suppresses  the 
insurrection — The  intrigues  of  Pangiran  Makota,  and  the  shuffling  of  the 
Rajah  Muda — A  crisis  :  Brooke  invested  as  Rajah — Makota  dismissed — 
Sarawak  and  other  provinces — The  Sherips — Condition  of  the  country — 
The  Datus  —  Laws  promulgated  —  Redress  of  wrongs  —  Measures  taken  to 


xii  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

check  the  Sekrang  and  Saribas  pirates — Sherip  Sahap  receives  a  lesson — 
Brooke  visits  Bruni — Bruni  and  its  court — Cession  of  Sarawak  to  Brooke 
confirmed  —  Installation  at  Knching  —  Makota's  discomfiture,  and  banish- 
ment—  Reforms  introduced  —  Suppression  of  piracy  and  head -hunting  — 
Captain  the  Honourable  H.  Keppell  induced  to  co-operate  Pages  61-91 


CHAPTER    IV 

THE    PIRATES 

A  general  account  of  the  pirates — Cruise  of  the  Dido — Brushes  with  the  pirates 
—  Expedition  against  the  Saribas — The  Rajah  visits  Bruni  —  Sir  Edward 
Belcher's  mission— The  Rajah  joins  a  naval  expedition  against  Sumatran 
pirates — Is  wounded — Dido  returns  to  Sarawak — The  Batang  Lupar  expedi- 
tion— Sarawak  offered  to  the  British  crown — The  Rajah's  difficult  position 
— Return  of  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  to  Bruni — The  Rajah  appointed  H.M.'s 
Agent  in  Borneo — Visits  Bruni — Intrigues  of  Pangiran  Usup — Sir  Thomas 
Cochrane — U sup's  downfall — The  pirate's  stronghold  in  Marudu  Bay  destroyed 
— Death  of  Usup — Fresh  troubles  on  the  coast — Rajah  Muda  Hasim  and 
his  brothers  murdered — Bruni  attacked  and  captured  by  Cochrane — Further 
action  against  the  Lanun  pirates — Submission  of  the  Sultan— His  end — 
Sarawak  becomes  an  independent  state — Labuan  ceded  to  the  British — 
Jealousy  and  pretensions  of  the  Dutch — Treaty  with  Bruni— Defeat  of  the 
Balenini  pirates — The  Rajah  visits  England,  1848 — Honours  accorded  him 
— Captain  James  Brooke-Brooke  joins  the  Rajah — The  Sarawak  flag — The 
Rajah  establishes  Labuan — Visits  Sulu — Depredations  by  the  Saribas  and 
Sekrangs — Action  taken — The  Rajah  revisits  Sulu,  and  a  treaty  is  con- 
cluded— The  battle'of  Beting  Maru — Venomous  attacks  upon  the  Rajah  and 
naval  officers — A  Royal  Commission  demanded  in  Parliament  to  investigate 
the  Rajah's  conduct  negatived — Diplomatic  visit  to  Siam — Recognition  by 
the  United  States — The  Rajah  returns  to  England.  1851 — Public  dinner  in 
his  honour — Commission  granted  by  coalition  ministry — The  Rajah  returns 
Sarawak,  1853 — Attack  of  small-pox — The  Commission  sits  in  Singapore 
in  1854  —  Complete  breakdown  of  charges  against  the  Rajah  —  Gladstone 
unconvinced — Mischief  caused  by  the  Commission      .  .  .        92-152 


CHAPTER    V 

RENTAP 

Commencement  of  the  present  Rajah's  career  in  Sarawak  in  1852 — Entitled  the 

Tuan  Muda — At  Lundu — The  situation  in  the  Batang  Lupar — Rentap — 

h  of  Lee — The  Tuan  Muda  at  Lingga — Lingga  and  the  people — Fresh 

ins   of  territory — Expeditions   against    Dandi    and    Sungie   Ling — 

The  Tuan  Muda  in  charge  of  the  Batang  Lupar  and  Saribas — Disturbed 

state   of   the   country  —  Kajulau   attacked  —  Saji's  escape — First   attack  on 

'•:.  1857 — Expedition  against  the  Saribas — A  station  established  there 

feat  of  Linggir — Second  (1858)  and  final  (1861)  attacks  on  Sadok — 

of  Rentap        .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .      1 ; 


CONTENTS  xiii 

CHAPTER   VI 

THE    CHINESE    REBELLION,    AND    SECRET    SOCIETIES 

The  Chinese  in  Sarawak — The  Secret  Society,  or  Hueh — Circumstances  that  led 
to  the  rebellion — Kuching  captured  by  the  rebels — They  form  a  provisional 
government,  and  retire  up  river — Their  return — Malay  town  burnt — How 
the  situation  was  changed — Flight  of  the  Chinese — Pursued  and  driven  over 
the  border — Their  after  fate — Action  of  the  British  and  Dutch  authorities — 
The  rebellion  the  outcome  of  the  Commission — Comments  by  English  papers 
— After  the  rebellion — The  Hueh  dormant,  not  extinct — Gives  trouble  in 
1869 — In  open  revolt  against  the  Dutch,  1884-85 — Severely  punished  in 
Sarawak  in  18S9,  and  again  in  1906         ....    Pages  1S5-206 


CHAPTER   VII 

THE    SHERIP    MASAHOR 

The  Datus— The  Datu  Patinggi  Gapur — Sherip  Masahor — Gapur's  misconduct 
and  treachery — His  punishment  —  Muka  in  a  state  of  anarchy — Pangiran 
Matusin  kills  Pangiran  Ersat  —  S.  Masahor's  cold-blooded  revenge  —  The 
Tuan  Muda  at  Muka  —  S.  Masahor  punished  —  The  Rajah  reforms  the 
Bruni  Government — Thwarted  by  the  Sultan — Fort  built  at  Serikei — The 
Rajah  intervenes  at  Muka — He  goes  to  England — Makota's  death — The 
Tuan  Muda  in  charge — Commencement  of  conspiracies — Kanowit — Troubles 
at  Muka,  and  the  Tuan  Muda*s  action  there — Murder  of  Steele  and  Fox — 
The  conspiracy  —  Disconnected  action  —  The  general  situation  —  The  mur- 
derers of  Steele  and  Fox  punished — Ramifications  of  the  plot — Its  repression, 
and  the  fate  of  its  promoters — Indifference  of  the  British  Government — 
The  Rajah  in  England — Paralysis — Failure  to  obtain  protection — Pecuniary 
difficulties  —  The  Borneo  Company,  Limited  —  Miss  Burdett-Coutts- — The 
first  steamer — Public  testimonial — Burrator         ....      207-245 


CHAPTER    VIII 

MUKA 

The  Honourable  G.  W.  Edwardes  Governor  of  Labuan — Supports  Sherip 
Masahor,  and  condemns  the  Tuan  Muda — Muka  closed  to  Sarawak  traders — 
The  Tuan  Besar  attempts  to  open  friendly  negotiations  with  the  authorities  at 
Muka — A  declaration  of  war — Muka  invested — Governor  Edwardes  inter- 
feres—The Tuan  Besar  protests,  and  withdraws  his  forces — Evil  caused  by 
Edwardes  action  far-reaching — Disapproved  of  by  the  Foreign  Office  — 
Transfer  of  Muka  to  Sarawak — Banishment  of  S.  Masahor — Territory  to 
Kcdurong  Point  ceded  to  Sarawak — S.  Masahor's  end — His  cruelties — The 
Tuan  Besar  becomes  Rajah  Muda — The  Tuan  Muda  follows  the  Rajah  to 
England  in  1862 246-266 


xiv  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

CHAPTER    IX 

THE    LAST    OF    THE    PIRATES 

The  revival  of  piracy  in  185S — Inaction  of  the  Navy,  a  fruit  of  the  Commission 

Destruction  of  a  pirate  fleet  by  the  Rainbow  off  Bintulu — Cessation  of 

piracy Pages  267-278 

CHAPTER    X 
THE    KAYAN    EXPEDITION 

Return  of  the  Rajah  to  Sarawak — The  Rajah  Muda  retires — The  recognition  of 
Sarawak  as  an  independent  state  granted — The  Kayan  expedition — Submis- 
sion of  the  Kayans — The  murder  of  Fox  and  Steele  fully  avenged— The 
Rajah  bids  farewell  to  Sarawak         ......      279-294 

CHAPTER    XI 

THE    END    OF    THE    FIRST    STAGE 

The  opening  and  closing  of  the  first  stage — The  Rajah's  retirement — His  general 
policy — Frowned  upon — What  England  owes  to  him — Paralleled  with  Sir 
Stamford  Raffles — The  Rajah's  larger  policy — Abandoned — Recognition — 
Financial  cares — At  Burrator — Death,  June  II,  1868 — Dr.  A.  R.  Wallace's 
testimony — The  Rajah's  opinion  of  his  successor — Principles  of  government. 

295-306 

CHAPTER    XII 

THE    BEGINNING    OF    THE    SECOND    STAGE 

Charles  Brooke  proclaimed  Rajah — Improvements  needed — The  Datu's  testimony 
-tern  of  governing — The  two  councils — Administration  in  out-stations — 
Malay  courts — Native  chiefs — The  Rajah's  opinions  and  policy — Slavery — 
Relations  with  the  Dutch — The  Rajah's  duties — Commercial  and  industrial 
development — Disturbances  between  1868  and  1870 — The  Rajah  leaves  fur 
England — His  marriage  .  .......      3°7-325 

CHAPTER    XIII 

BRUM 

Its   story — Inconsistency   of  British    policy — Sultan   Mumin — Feudal   rights  — 
Oppression   and    misgovernment  —  Trade  interfered   with — Apathy   of  the 


CONTENTS  xv 

British  Government — Labuan  a  failure — Its  governors  inimical  to  Sarawak — 
The  Rajah  visits  Bruni — A  treaty  and  its  evil  results — The  Rajah  visits 
Baram — The  situation  in  that  river — Bruni  methods — The  Kayans  rebel — 
The  Sultan  disposed  to  cede  Baram  to  Sarawak — The  British  Government 
disapproves — The  reason — The  Rajah  recommends  a  policy — Adopted  by 
the  Foreign  Office  too  late — The  late  Rajah's  policy  and  that  adopted  in 
regard  to  the  native  states  of  the  Malay  Peninsula — Mr.  Ussher  Governor 
of  Labuan — A  change — Baram  taken  over  by  Sarawak — Troubles  in  the 
Limbang — Trusan  ceded  to  Sarawak  —  Death  of  Sultan  Mumin  —  Sultan 
Hasim  —  His  difficult  position — The  Limbang  in  rebellion  —  The  Rajah 
declines  to  help  the  Sultan — The  Sultan  advised  by  Sir  F.  Weld — Bruni 
becomes  a  protectorate,  but  a  Resident  is  not  appointed — The  Limbang 
people  hoist  the  Sarawak  flag — The  Rajah  annexes  Limbang — The  Sultan 
refuses  to  accept  the  decision  of  the  Foreign  Office — His  real  motives — 
Sir  Spenser  St.  John's  comments — Present  condition  of  Limbang — Muara 
and  its  coal-fields — Tenure  and  rights  of  the  Rajah — Lawai — Murut  feuds 
suppressed  —  Bankrupt  condition  of  Bruni  —  Responsibility  of  the  British 
Government — Tutong  and  Belait — Transfer  of  Lawas  to  Sarawak — British 
Resident  appointed  to  Bruni — Alternatives  before  the  Foreign  Office — The 
worst  adopted — A  poor  bargain — Death  of  Sultan  Hasim — A  harsh  tax — 
The  Rajah  protests — His  position  at  Muara — Comments  on  the  policy  of 
the  British  Government    .......    Pages  326-372 


CHAPTER    XIV 

THE    SEA-DAYAKS 

Three  stages  in  the  Rajah's  service — A  fourth  added — Sea-Dayak  affairs  to  1907 
— The  character  of  the  Sea-Dayaks  —  The  Kayans,  Kenyans,  and  other 
inland  tribes — Tama  Bulan      .......      373-392 


CHAPTER    XV 

THE    RAJAH    AND    RANEE 

Their  arrival  in  Sarawak  in  1870,  and  their  welcome — Description  of  Kuching — 
1839,  a  contrast — The  Rajah  and  Ranee  visit  Pontianak  and  Batavia — Their 
return  to  England — Deaths  of  their  children — Birth  of  the  Rajah  Muda — 
The  Vyner  family — Lord  Derby's  compliment  —  Lord  Clarendon  —  Lord 
Grey's  interest  in  Sarawak — Difficulties  in  the  interior — Birth  of  the  Tuan 
Muda — The  Rajah's  narrow  escape — Birth  of  the  Tuan  Bongsu — Extension 
of  territory — Limbang — Protection  accorded — A  review  of  the  progress  of 
Sarawak  after  fifty  years  —  The  Rajah's  speech  —  The  annexation  of  the 
Limbang — The  Rajah  Muda  proclaimed  as  successor — Proposal  to  transfer 
North  Borneo  to  Sarawak — Keppel's  last  visit,  and  his  last  letter  to  the 
Rajah — The  Ranee  obliged  to  leave  Sarawak — The  Rajah  Muda  joins  the 
Service — Is  given  a  share  in  the  Government — The  Natuna  islands — Steady 
advance — The  Rajah's  policy — Its  main  essential — Malay  chiefs — The  Datus 
— What  the  Brookes  have  done  for  Sarawak       ....      393-424 


xvi  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

CHAPTER   XVI 

1  [NANCE — TRADE — INDUSTRIES 

Revenue  and  expenditure — Chinese  merchants — The  Borneo  Company,  Limited — 
Trade  from  the  early  days  to  1907  —  Agriculture  —  Land  tenure — Jungle 
produce — Minerals — Mechanical  industries  .  .    Pages  425-43S 

CHAPTER    XVII 

EDUCATION RELIGION MISSIONS 

The  education  of  native  children  a  problem — Schools — Islamism — Paganism — 
The  S.P.G.  Mission — Roman  Catholic  Missions — American  Methodist 
Mission  ..........     439-450 


LIST  OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 


The   late    Rajah.       From    an    engraving   after   the   painting   by 

Sir  Francis  Grant,  P.R.A Frontispiece 

The  present  Rajah.      Photo,  Bassano 

Nepenthes  and  Rafflesia.      C.  R.  Wylie    . 

Mt.  St.  Pedro,  or   Kini   Balu.      C.  R.  Wylie.      From  St.  John's 

Life  in  the  Forests  of  tlie  Far  East  . 
Ukit  Chief,  wife  and  child.      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde 
A  Punan.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.,  Singapore 
A  Kayan  girl.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.,  Singapore 
Group  of  Muruts.      Photo,  Mrs.  E.  A.  W.  Cox 
Land-Dayak  Chief,  with  his   son  and  grandson.      Photo,    Rev 

J.  W.  Moore 

Sea-Dayak  Chief  (Pengulu  Dalam  Munan).     Photo,  Turn  Sai  On 

Sea-Dayak  girl.      Photo,  Buey  Hon 

Satang  Islands.      C.  R.  Wylie 

Mercator's  map.      C.  R.  Wylie 

Old  jar  ("  Benaga  ").      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde 

Figure  at  Santubong.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co. 

Kuching,     1840.       From    Views    in    the    Eastern    Archipelago 

J.  A.  St.  John 

Tower    of    old  Astana.         C.    R.    Wylie,    from     a     photo     by 

Buey  Hon       ...... 

The  Royalist  off  Santubong.      C.  R.  Wylie 
Land-Dayak  village.      Photo,  C.  Vernon-Collins 


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XY111 


A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 


Land-Dayak  head-house.      Photo,  Rev.  J.  W.  Moore 
Kuching,  present  day.     Photo,  Buey  Hon 
H.E.I.C.  Phlegethon.     C.  R.  Wylie  .... 

H.M.S.   Dido.      From  Expedition  to  Borneo.      Keppel.      C.  R 

Wylie 

The  present  Rajah  as  a  midshipman         .... 

Attack  on   Sherip   Usman's  stronghold.      C.    R.   Wylie.      From 

Views  in  the  Eastern  Archipelago     . 
Old  Sekrang  fort.      C.  R.  Wylie.     From  Ten  Years  in  Sarawak 
Sea-Dayak  shield  and  arms.      C.  R.  Wylie 
On  the  war-path.      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde 
Government  station  at  Bau.      Photo,  Buey  Hon 
Old  Chinese  temple,  Kuching.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co 
Chinese  procession  ...... 

Malay  lela  (cannon)  and  spears.      C.  A.  Bampfylde  . 

Sherip  Masahor's  spear.      C.  R.  Wylie 

Kanowit.      C.  A.  Bampfylde    ..... 

Native  tools  and  hats.      C.  A.  Bampfylde  and  C.  R.  Wylie 
Melanau  sun-hat.      C.  R.  Wylie       .... 

Plan  of  operations  at  Muka     ..... 

Sarawak  flag  :  execution  kris.      C.  R.  Wylie     . 

Sulu  kris.      C.  A.  Bampfylde  and  C.  R.  Wylie 

Native  musical  instruments.      C.  A.  Bampfylde  and  C.  R.  Wyli 

Kayan  mortuary.      C.  A.  Bampfylde  and  C.  R.  Wylie 

Punan  mortuary.      Photo  by  Mrs.  E.  A.  W.  Cox 

Kayan  mortuary.      Photo  by  Mrs.  E.  A.  W.  Cox 

Sea-Dayak  house.      From  a  photo  by  Lambert  and  Co.      C.  R 

Wylie 

The  Rajah's  grave.      Photo  by  Major  W.  H.  Rod way 

Kuching.      C.  R.  Wylie,  from  photos  by  Buey  Hon  . 

Fort   Margherita,   Kuching.      C.  R.  Wylie,  from   photo  by  Buey 

Hon 

Berrow  Vicarage.      C.  R.  Wylie,  from  a  photo 


LIST  OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 

Fort  Brooke,  Sibu.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.  . 
H.H.S.  Zahora.      C.  R.  Wylie,  from  a  photo   . 
Daru'l  Salam.      C.  R.  Wylie.      From  Life  in  the  Forests 
Far  East.       ..-■■•■ 

Bruni  gong.      C.  R.  Wylie 

The    Sultan's    palace.      C.    R.    Wylie,   from    a    photo    by 
E.  A.  W.  Cox 

Trusan  Fort.      Photo,  Mrs.  E.  A.  W.  Cox 

On  the  Lawas  river.      Photo,  M.  G.  Bradford  . 

The  Gazelle.      Photo,  Buey  Hon      . 

Sea-Dayak  war-boat.      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde 

Land-Dayak  weapons.      C.  R.  Wylie 

The  Sarawak  Rangers.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.     . 

Rangers  in  mufti.      Photo,  Buey  Hon 

Kapit  Fort.      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde      . 

Fort  Alice,  Simanggang.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.  . 

Sea-Dayak  war-boats.      Photo,  C.  A.  Bampfylde 

The  Astana.      C.  R.  Wylie,  from  photos  . 

Kuching,  from  down  river.      Photo,  Buey  Hon 

Drawing-room,  Astana.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co.     . 

Dining-room,  Astana.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co. 

The  Esplanade,  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  . 
Hospital,  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  . 
The  Malay  Members  of  Supreme  Council.      Photo,  Buey 
The  Police.      Photo,  Buey  Hon        .... 
Chinese  Street,  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey  Hon    . 
Interior  of  Museum,  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey  Hon     . 
Buildings  in  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey  Hon 
General  Market,  Kuching.      Photo,  Lambert  and  Co. 
Chesterton  House,  Cirencester.      Photo,  W.  D.  Moss 
The  Borneo  Company's  Offices,  Kuching.      Photo,  Buey 
A  pepper  garden    ...-■-■ 
Chinese  sluicing  for  gold.      Photo,  Buey  Hon   . 


of  the 


Mrs 


Hon 


Hon 


PAGE 
324 


326 
326 


345 
363 
372 
373 
373 
376 
377 
380 

385 
39i 
393 
394 
397 
397 
399 
4^3 
407 
409 
413 

415 
421 

423 
424 
425 

434 
436 


A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 


l'ACE 

Brooketon  coal-mines.  Photo,  Buey  Hon  ....  437 
Cyanide  works  at  Bau.  Photo,  Buey  Hon  ....  438 
St.  Joseph's  and  St.  Thomas's  Churches.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  439 

Malay  mosque.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  .....        439 

S.P.G.'s  boys'  school.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  .  .  .  .441 

S.l'.i  school.      Photo,  Buey  Hon  .  .  .  .442 

R.C.  boys'  school.  Photo,  Buey  Hon  .....  443 
Chinese  temple      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .450 


Map  at  cud  of  volume. 


TITLES 


SULTAN. — Supreme  head  of  the  once  large  Bruni  Sultanate,  which  is 
now  only  a  corner  or  enclave  within  the  raj  of  Sarawak.  Iang 
di  Pertuan,  the  Lord  who  Rules,  is  the  correct  supreme  title  in 
Bruni,  and  the  one  most  generally  in  use.1 

Sultan  Muda,  heir-apparent.  Lit.  young  Sultan,  but  seldom  used. 
Iang  di  Pertuan  Muda  is  the  more  correct  Malay  title.  Cp. 
Pangiran,  infra. 

RAJAH  (fern.  Rani,  or  Ranee). — The  old  title  of  the  Bruni  sovereigns. 
It  is  a  Sanskrit  word,  and  means  king.  But  in  Bruni  it  was 
improperly  assumed  by  those  (male  and  female)  of  royal  descent. 
This  has  fallen  into  disuse,  that  is,  none  of  them  now  bears  such 
a  title,  but  in  referring  to  the  princes  of  Bruni  generally  the  term 
Rajah  Rajah  -  would  be  used.  Rulers  of  districts  were  never 
entitled  to  the  title  ex  officio.  Such  rulers  are  feudal  chiefs 
with  the  title  of  Pangiran,  and  their  chieftainship  is  generally 
hereditary. 

Rajah   Muda,  heir  apparent.      Lit.  young  Rajah. 

Pangiran  is  the  highest  Bruni  title.  Pangiran  Muda  —  sometimes 
Pangiran  Muda  Besar — is  another  title  of  the  heir-apparent  to 
the  Sultanate.  (Rajah  Muda  is  only  used  in  Sarawak.)  It  is 
a  Javanese  title  and  means  prince.  It  is  not,  however,  now  con- 
fined only  to  persons  of  royal  descent  as  formerly,  and  the  title 
has  become  very  common,  especially  as  illegitimate  as  well  as 
legitimate  children  of  all  pangirans  assume  it. 

Datu. — Lit.  great-grandfather  (by  extension — ancestor).  This  is  a 
high  title  in  the  Malay  Peninsula,  and  the  highest  in  Sarawak, 
but  not  in  Bruni,  though  it  is  in  Sulu.  It  can  be  conferred  by 
the  Ruler  alone,  and  is  an  official  title  and  not  hereditary.  It 
is  only  granted  to  Malays.3 

1  Sultan  is  a  title  foreign  to  the  Court  language  of  Bruni.- — Sir  Hugh  Low, 
< .  C.M.G.,  Sarawak,  1848. 

-  Rajah,  correctly  Raja.      Plural  is  expressed  by  duplication. 

'•'  In  Bruni  this  title  also  is  now  debased  by  being  granted  to  all  natives,  Chinese 
included. 

xxi 


xxii  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

BANDAR  Persian  . — The  meaning  of  this  word  is  a  port.  Datu  Bandar, 
one  of  the  highest  titles  in  Sarawak,  would  mean  the  chief  of 
the  port  or  town. 

Shah   BANDAR  means  the  Controller  of  the  Customs. 

BANDAHARA  (Sanskrit.  . — A  treasurer.  The  Pangiran  Bandahara  is  the 
chief  of  the  four  Wazirs  of  Bruni.  The  present  Bandahara  is 
Regent  of  Bruni. 

TEMANGGONG. — Another  high  official  title,  meaning  Commander-in- 
Chief.      The  Pangiran  Temanggong  is  one  of  the  Bruni  Wazirs. 

Di  Gadong  and  Pemancha. — Also  high  official  titles,  the  meanings  of 
which  are  uncertain.  The  Pangiran  di  Gadong  and  the  Pangiran 
Pemancha  are  the  titles  of  the  other  two  Bruni  Wazirs.1 

PATINGGI  (from  Tinggi — elevated,  exalted  ;  hence  Maha-tinggi,  the 
most  high).  The  Datu  Patinggi  was  the  highest  or  premier 
chief  in  Sarawak. 

PENGLIMA. — A  Malay  title,  also  sometimes  formerly  given  to  Dayaks  : 
means  a  Commander. 

Orano  kaya. — Lit.  rich  man.  A  title  generally  given  to  Malay  chiefs 
of  inferior  rank  and  to  the  Dayak  chiefs. 

Sheru- — An  Arab  title  meaning  noble.  A  title  assumed  by  half-bred 
Arabs  claiming  descent  from  Muhammad.  These  men  also  take 
the  exalted  Malay  title  of  Tunku  or  Tungku  3  by  which  princes 
of  the  royal  blood  are  alone  addressed,  but  more  especially  the- 
Sultan. 

Haji. — One  who  has  made  the  pilgrimage  to  Mecca. 

TUAN. — Master,  Sir,  Lord,  Mistress,  Lady.  Tuan  Besar — High  Lord. 
Tuan  Muda — Young  Lord. 

NAK<  iDA. — Shipmaster,  merchant. 

PENGULU. — Headman.      A  title  given  to  Dayak  district  chiefs. 

Ixchi. — Mister — a  lower  title  than  Tuan.  A  title  foreign  to  Sarawak, 
and  in  that  country  only  assumed  by  foreign  Malays. 

1  St.    John  gives  the  di  Gadong  as  Minister  of  Revenues,  and  the  Pemancha  as 
Minister  for  Home  Affairs. — Forests  cf  the  Far  East. 

-  Pronounced   by   Malays   Sherip.   or  Strip.      Fem.    Sheripa,    S  Sayid    is 

another,  though  in  the  Kast  less  common  title,  assumed  by  descendants  of  the  Prophet 
Sir  Richard  Burton  in  his  Pilgrimage  says  the  former,  men  of  the  sword,  the  ruling 

xecutive  branch,  are  the  descendants  of  El  Eiusayn,  the  Prophet's 
and  thi  latter,  men  of  the  pen,  religion,  and  polities,  are  descended  from  thi 
eldest  Siti  is  the  female  title. 

orruption  of  Tuan-ku  (Tuan  akin,  my  Lord,  as  it  is  often  so  pronounced. 


TITLES  xxiii 

Abang. — Lit.  elder  brother.  Datu's  sons  are  styled  Abang,  and  also 
Malay  Government  chiefs  below  the  rank  of  Datu. 

LAKSAMANA. — An  Admiral. 

IMAUM. — High  Priest. 

Hakim. — A  Judge  :  lit.  a  learned  man. 

A  WANG. — A  title  sometimes  given  to  the  sons  of  Pangirans. 

Dayang  OR  Dang. — Lady  of  rank.  A  title  given  to  daughters  of 
Datus  and  Abangs. 

Wan. — Another  title  given  to  Sherifs,  but  more  generally  to  their  sons. 
It  is  probably  derived  from  the  Arabic  word  Awan,  meaning  a 
helper  or  sustainer  of  Muhammad. 

The  following  Malay  geographical  terms  should  also  be  noted  : — 
Bukit,  a  hill.  Danau,  a  lake.  Gunong,  a  mountain. 

Pulau,  an  island.  Sungi,  a  river.  Tanjong,  a  cape. 

Kampong,  a  village,  or  subdivision  of  a  town,  a  parish. 


CHAPTER    I 

BORNEO 


EXT    to    Aus- 
tralia and  New 
Guinea,  Borneo1 
is     the     largest 
island     in      the 
world  ;       it      is 
larger  than  the  whole 
of  France.      It  sits  a- 
stride  on  the  equator, 
that  divides  it  nearly, 
but     not    wholly,    in 
two  ;   the  larger  por- 
tion    being     to     the 

NEPENTHES,     AND    RAFFLESIA    TLAX-MUD.,,  ^.^    Qf  ^    j^ 

The  belt  of  islands,  Sumatra,  Java,  and  the  chain  to 
Timor  and  the  Sarwatty  group,  represents  a  line  of  weakness 
in  the  crust  of  the  earth,  due  to  volcanic  action,  which  still 
makes  itself  felt  there.      But  the  axis  of  elevation  of  Borneo 

1  The  name  Borneo  is  a  corruption  of  Burni,  itself  a  corruption  of  Beruni  or 
Bruni,  the  capital  of  that  ancient  but  now  decayed  Sultanate  bearing  the  same  name, 
and  of  which  Sarawak,  and  a  great  part  of  British  North  Borneo,  once  formed  parts. 
It  was  the  first  place  in  Borneo  with  which  the  Spanish  and  Portuguese  had  any 
dealings,  and  in  their  old  chronicles  it  is  referred  to  as  Burni,  and  Borneo  subsequently 
became  the  distinguishing  name  of  the  whole  island  to  Europeans.  The  natives 
themselves  have  none,  except  perhaps  the  doubtful  one  of  Pulau  Ka-lamanta-an,  the 
island  of  raw  sago,  so  named  in  recent  times  by  the  merchants  and  traders  of  the 
Straits  Settlements  as  being  the  island  from  which  that  commodity  was  brought,  and 
in  those  settlements  it  has  since  become  the  native  name  for  Borneo.  But  in 
Sarawak  this  name  is  known  to  the  Malays  alone,  and  in  other  parts  of  Borneo, 
perhaps  only  a  few  have  heard  of  it.  In  fact,  it  is  applicable  to  Sarawak  only,  for 
in  former  days  sago  was  exported  to  the  Straits  solely  from  that  country,   and  the 

B 


A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

is  almost  at  right  angles  to  this  line,  and  in  it  are  no  active 
vents,  and  if  there  be  extinct  volcanoes,  these  are  in  the 
extreme  north  only.  In  Sarawak  there  are  several  hot 
springs,  the  water  of  which  is  impregnated  with  sulphuretted 
hvdrogen.  The  island  owes  its  origin,  as  far  as  we  can 
judge,  to  a  great  upheaval  of  plutonic  rock  that  has  lifted 
aloft  and  shivered  the  overlying  beds,  but  the  granite  does 
not  come  everywhere  to  the  surface.  Something  analogous 
may  be  seen  in  Exmoor,  where  the  superincumbent  clay- 
slate  has  been  heaved  up  and  strained,  but  the  granite  no- 


MOl'NT    ST.    PEDRO,    OK    KINA    BALL",    13,700  FEET. 

where    shows    save    in    Lundy    Isle,    where    the    superposed 
strata  have  been  swept  away,  leaving  the  granite  exposed. 

Borneo  is  about  850  miles  in  length  and  600  in 
breadth,  and  contains  an  area  of  286,000  square  miles. 
The  centre  of  Borneo  is  occupied  by  broken  hilly  highland, 
with  isolated  mountains,  of  which  the  finest  is  the  granite 
peak  of  Kina  Balu  (13,700  feet).  Hills  come  down  in 
places  to  the  sea,  as  in  the  south  of  Sarawak,  where  they 
attain  a  height  of  from  2000  to  over  5000  feet,  and  die 
into  the  sea  at  Cape  Datu.  The  plains,  chiefly  swamps, 
are  composed   of   the   wash   of  the   mountains,   overlaid    by 

•.as  carried  on  by  Sarawak  Malays,  first  with  Penang  and  subsequently  with 
lore.  An  old  English  map  of  about  1700  gives  to  the  town  of  Bruni,  as  well  as 
whole  island,  the  name  of  Borneo.      Mercator  (159c  both. 

Bruni  is  variously  spelt  Brunai,  Brunei,  Brunei  Borneo,  Borney,  Bornei,  Forne, 
I'.irni  by  old  writers;  all  corruptions  of  Bruni.  The  Sanskrit  word  Bhurni, 
ing  land  or  country,  has  been  suggested  as  the  origin  of  the  name. 


BORNEO  3 

vegetable  mould,  and  these  fringe  the  coast,  extending 
inland  from  ten  to  thirty  miles,  with  here  and  there  isolated 
humps  of  hill  standing  up  out  of  them. 

The  island  is  probably  the  best  watered  in  the  world. 
On  every  side  are  numerous  rivers,  mainly  rising  in  the 
central  highlands,  at  first  dancing  down  the  mountain  ledges 
in  cascades,  then,  forming  dangerous  rapids,  enter  the  plain, 
and  there  swelled  by  affluents  and  widening  out  advance 
with  no  strong  current  to  the  sea.  Owing  to  the  width  of 
the  river-mouths,  and  to  the  configuration  of  the  coast, 
some  of  them,  as  the  Batang  Lupar,  the  Sadong,  and  Saribas, 
have  tidal  bores,  as  is  the  case  with  our  River  Severn,  that 
run  up  as  many  as  seventy  miles  into  the  interior,  and  most 
have  deposited  troublesome  bars  at  their  mouths,  and  have 
embouchures  clogged  by  shoals.  To  the  slight  fall  is  largely 
due  the  remarkable  way  in  which  several  of  these  rivers 
descend  into  the  ocean  through  plural  mouths,  thus 
forming  a  network  of  lateral  waterways,  called  Loba  and 
Trusan,  whereby  they  mix  and  mingle  with  other  rivers, 
and,  very  much  like  the  Rhine  after  entering  Holland,  lose 
their  identity  and  are  frittered  away  in  many  channels.  The 
Rejang,  for  instance,  finds  issue  through  five  mouths,  and  the 
land  between  the  Rejang  and  Igan  entrances,  which  meet  at 
Sibu,  the  apex  of  the  delta,  is  a  vast  unbroken  swamp,  I  200 
square  miles  in  area.  The  same  phenomenon  is  noticed  in 
the  Sarawak  river,  and  in  the  Limbang  to  a  smaller  degree. 

The  rainfall  in  Borneo  is  so  great,  the  rainy  season 
lasting  from  October  to  April,1  that  the  rivers  are  very 
numerous  and  copious,  rolling  down  large  volumes  of  water. 
Severe  droughts  are,  however,  not  uncommon  during  the 
fine  season  of  the  S.YV.  monsoon. 

Between  Kuching  and  Bruni  are  the  Sadong,  Batang 
Lupar,  Saribas,  Kalaka,  Rejang,  Bintulu,  and  the  Baram 
rivers,  all  available  as  waterways  for  trade  with  the  interior. 
For  fifteen  miles  only  from  its  mouth  is  the  Batang  Lupar 
navigable  by  steamers,  above  that,  though  a  fine  broad 
river,  it  is  obstructed  by  dangerous  shoals.  The  Rejang 
is   navigable    by   steamers    for    1 70   miles,   nearly   as   far  as 

1  See  page  34. 


4  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

the  first  rapids.  This  noble  river  descends  many  stages 
by  as  many  plunges  from  terraces.  Between  the  rapids  the 
river  is  deep,  sluggish  and  broad  for  many  miles.  Boats 
that  can  be  hauled  up  past  the  rapids  can  ascend  a  distance 
of  650  miles  from  the  mouth.  The  Baram  river  is  navigable 
by  steamers  for  some  twenty  miles  above  Claude  Town,  that 
is,  eighty  miles  from  the  mouth,  but  owing  to  the  exposed 
position  of  the  bar  and  to  the  heavy  seas  breaking  over  it,  and 
also  to  the  silting  up  of  the  mouth  during  the  N.E.  monsoon, 
only  very  small  craft  can  then  enter,  but  during  the  S.W. 
monsoon  it  can  be  entered  by  steamers  of  light  draught. 

In  Dutch  Borneo  as  well  there  are  magnificent  rivers. 
The  same  cause  that  has  made  some  of  the  rivers  so  uncertain 
in  their  mouths  has  produced  vast  stretches  of  morass, 
overgrown  with  the  nipah  palm  and  mangrove,  and  infested 
with  mosquito  swarms  ;  but  the  beach  is  almost  everywhere 
of  beautiful  white  sand,  reaching  to  where  the  graceful 
casuarina  tree  grows  as  a  belt  above  the  reach  of  the  tide. 
The  tropical  heat,  added  to  the  great  rainfall,  makes  Borneo 
a  vegetable  paradise  ;  indeed,  it  presents  the  appearance  of 
one  vast  surface  of  sombre  evergreen  forest,  starred  with 
flowering  orchids,  and  wreathed  with  creepers,  of  a  richness 
perhaps  unsurpassed  even  in  South  America. 

The  hills  and  ranges  of  upland  consist  of  blue  meta- 
morphic  limestone  on  which  is  superposed  a  thick  series  of 
sandstones,  conglomerates,  and  clay-shales.  Piercing  these 
beds  are  granite  and  a  variety  of  plutonic  rocks,  as  diorite, 
porphyrite,  etc.  These  latter  are  developed  in  greatest 
abundance  in  the  antimony  districts,  where  they  are  in 
immediate  contact  with  the  limestone  that  has  been  fissured 
and  tortured  by  upheaval.  The  sandstone  shales  have  also 
been  tilted  and  distorted  ;  nevertheless  in  places  the)-  retain 
their  original  horizontal  position.  They  are  usually  found 
to  be  impregnated  with  peroxide  of  iron.  It  is  in  this 
formation  that  the  cinnabar  deposits  occur. 

Both  lime  and  sandstone  have  been  extensively  denuded, 
and  the  latter  rises  in  isolated  tabular  mountains,  or  short 
peaky  trends,  to  an  altitude  occasionally  of  15  00  feet  above 
the  sea,  the  ridges  separated  by  undulating  valleys,  in  which 


BORNEO  5 

the  limestone  comes  to  the  surface.  Sometimes  these 
denuded  masses  form  low  hilly  tracts  varying  in  elevation 
from  200  feet  to  1200  feet;  sometimes  they  appear  as 
solitary  crags,  but  invariably  present  long  lines  of  ancient  sea- 
cliff,  and  bold  scarped  faces,  fissured  and  jointed  in  every 
conceivable  direction. 

In  the  intervening  lowlands  is  a  deposit  of  dark  yellow 
felspathic  clay  varying  in  depth  from  a  few  feet  to  eighty 
feet  and  more,  derived  from  the  degradation  of  the  hills  by 
water.  Associated  with  this  clay  and  of  more  recent  date 
are  superficial  deposits  of  pudding-stone  and  river  gravels. 
The  intrusive  igneous  rocks  show  mainly  in  the  form  of 
dykes,  seaming  the  stratified  rocks  ;  consequently  volcanic 
action  took  place  subsequent  to  their  deposition,  but  it  was 
also  antecedent  to  the  more  recent  of  the  superficial  deposits. 
It  is  in  immediate  connection  with  those  plutonic  dykes  that 
we  find  the  deposits  of  arsenic  and  cinnabar,  occupying  the 
fissures  produced  in  the  stratified  rocks  by  volcanic  upheavals, 
and  we  are  led  to  the  conclusion  that  these  mineral  lodes 
were  deposited  after  the  cessation  of  the  upheaval. 

Gold  occurs  in  the  form  of  fine  sand  in  the  alluvial 
deposits,  and  in  the  gravel  of  the  rivers  over  a  great  part  of 
Sarawak  ;  and  also  in  pockets  of  the  limestone,  in  which  it 
has  been  allowed  to  fall  by  water.  Nuggets  are  of  ex- 
tremely rare  occurrence,  but  Sir  Spencer  St.  John  mentions 
having  seen  one  of  seven  ounces  taken  from  the  auriferous 
clay  at  Krian  near  Bau.  The  gold  dust  is  usually  in  a  state  of 
finest  comminution.     So  far  no  gold  reef  has  been  come  upon. 

In  former  days  gold  was  extensively  washed  by  Chinese 
at  Bau  and  Paku  in  Upper  Sarawak,  which  auriferous 
district  commences  at  the  confluence  of  the  two  branches 
of  the  Sarawak  river,  and  extends  back  to  their  sources  and 
the  boundary  of  Dutch  Borneo.  As  gold  and  antimony 
were  known  to  abound  here,  the  Chinese  of  Sambas  and  the 
lower  Kapuas  had  made  several  endeavours  to  establish 
themselves  in  the  district,  but  were  much  harassed  by  the 
Malays  until  the  accession  of  the  late  Rajah  Brooke, 
which  made  it  possible  for  them  to  settle  there  and  pursue 
in    peace   their    business   of  gold    mining.      Then   gold    was 


6  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

washed  extensively,  and  the  fine  reservoirs  and  "  leats " 
which  the  Chinese  constructed  to  sluice  the  alluvial  soil 
remain  to  this  day.  They  increased  and  became  a  thriving 
community,  but  they  were  not  sufficiently  looked  after,  and, 
falling  under  the  machinations  of  socialistic  Secret  Societies, 
gradually  got  out  of  hand  and  broke  into  open  rebellion 
in  1857,  as  shall  be  related  in  the  sequel.  It  is  sufficient 
to  say  here  that  this  ended  in  dire  ruin  to  themselves,  and 
that  the  few  who  escaped  were  driven  over  the  borders  ;  but 
it  also  ruined  the  gold-mining  industry,  and,  though  some  of 
the  rebels  returned  and  others  came  with  them,  the  industry 
never  fully  recovered,  and  later  on  it  received  a  further 
check  by  the  introduction  of  pepper  planting,  which  gave 
the  Chinese  a  more  profitable  occupation,  and  gradually 
Upper  Sarawak  became  covered  with  gardens  of  this  descrip- 
tion. Though  gold  mining  under  the  Chinese  practically 
died  out,  modern  scientific  and  engineering  skill  has  now 
placed  it  in  a  far  higher  position  than  it  had  ever  previously 
attained,  or  could  have  attained  under  the  primitive  methods 
of  the  previous  workers. 

Quicksilver  was  discovered  in  situ  about  the  year  1871, 
by  Messrs.  Helms  and  Walters  of  the  Borneo  Company, 
who  prospected  over  the  whole  of  Sarawak  Proper,  and 
ultimately  succeeded  in  tracking  the  small  fragments  of 
cinnabar  that  are  scattered  over  the  district  to  a  hill  on  the 
right  bank  of  the  Staat  river.  The  hill  is  called  Tegora, 
and  rises  to  an  elevation  of  800  feet.  In  the  upper  portion 
of  this  hill,  the  ore  was  found  deposited  capriciously  in  strains 
and  pockets  with  here  and  there  a  little  metallic  mercury.1 

In  former  years  a  large  quantity  of  quicksilver  was  ex- 
ported, but  for  some  time  this  mineral  product  has  ceased 
to  appear  as  an  item  in  the  exports,  the  large  deposit  of 
cinnabar  at  Tegora  having  apparently  been  worked  out. 
The  existence  of  this  mineral  in  other  parts  of  the  state  is 
proved  by  traces  found  in  several  places,  and  the  same  may 
be  said  of  antimony,  of  which  there  are  indications  of  rich 

1    Everett  (A.    Hart).      "Notes  on  the    Distribution  of  the   Useful    Minerals  in 
ik,"  in  the  Journal  of the  Straits  Branch  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  1878. 
Mi.    Everett   was  a   distinguished   naturalist.       He   served    for   eight    years   in    the 
Sarawak  service,  and  died  in  1808. 


BORNEO  7 

deposits  ;  but  the  discovery  of  these  minerals  in  paying 
quantities  is  a  matter  of  chance.  Antimony  is  still  worked 
by  the  Borneo  Company,  Ltd.,  and  a  recent  rise  in  the  price 
has  been  an  inducement  to  Chinese  and  Malay  miners  to 
increase  the  production,  and  the  export  of  1906  was  more 
in  quantity  than  it  was  in  1905,  though  small  as  compared 
with  what  it  used  to  be. 

Black  bituminous  coal,  which  occurs  in  the  Tertiary 
strata,  has  been  found  in  different  parts,  and  two  collieries 
are  owned  and  worked  by  the  Government,  at  Semunjan  in 
the  Sadong  district,  and  at  Brooketon.  Several  hundred 
Chinese  are  employed  as  miners  under  European  supervision, 
and  large  sums  have  been  expended  upon  machinery,  etc. 

Oil,  a  crude  petroleum,  has  been  discovered  in  two 
places  ;   it  is  of  good  quality,  and  is  an  excellent  lubricant. 

It  is  not  impossible,  or  indeed  improbable,  that  diamond 
deposits  in  Sarawak  will  be  found  and  exploited.  No 
systematic  operations  in  search  of  these  precious  stones  have 
been  attempted,  the  dense  jungle  which  covers  the  country 
being  an  obstacle.  The  only  people  who  wash  for 
diamonds  are  the  Malays,  and  these  carry  on  their  work  in 
a  very  desultory  and  imperfect  manner. 

But  agriculture  and  jungle  produce  have  been,  and  will  be, 
the  main  source  of  revenue  to  Sarawak,  and  prosperity  to  the 
country.  We  shall  deal  with  these  products,  as  well  as  with 
those  that  are  mineral,  more  fully  in  a  subsequent  chapter. 

The  Bornean  forest  is  so  varied  and  so  different  at  different 
hours  and  seasons  that  no  description  can  possibly  convey  an 
adequate  idea  of  it  to  those  who  have  not  known  it.  Infinite  and 
ever  changing  are  its  aspects,  as  are  the  treasures  it  hides.  Its 
beauties  are  as  inexhaustible  as  the  varieties  of  its  productions.  In 
the  forest  man  feels  singularly  free.  The  more  one  wanders  in  it, 
the  greater  grows  the  sense  of  profound  admiration  before  nature  in 
one  of  its  grandest  aspects.  The  more  one  endeavours  to  study  it, 
the  more  one  finds  in  it  to  study.  Its  deep  shades  are  sacred  to  the 
devotee  of  Science.  Yet  they  afford  ample  food  for  the  mind  of  the 
believer,  not  less  than  to  that  of  the  philosopher.1 

And  we  would  add,  to  the  superstitious  native,  to  whom  the 
jungles  teem  with  ghosts  and  spirits. 

1  Odoardo  Beccari,    Wanderings  in  the  Great  Forests  of  Borneo,  1904. 


8  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

The  Bornean  jungles  are  full  of  life,  and  of  the  sounds 
of  life,  which  are  more  marked  in  the  early  mornings  and  in 
the  evenings.  Birds  are  plentiful  (there  are  some  800 
species),  some  of  beautiful  plumage,  but  few  are  songsters. 
Insect  life  is  very  largely  represented,  and  includes  many 
varieties  of  the  curious  stick  and  leaf  insects,1  hardly  to  be 
distinguished  from  the  twigs  and  leaves  they  mimic.  Also 
the  noisy  and  never  tiring  cicadas,  whose  evening  concerts 
are  almost  deafening,  and  frogs  and  grasshoppers  who  help 
to  swell  the  din.  There  are  many  varieties  of  beautiful 
butterflies,  but  these  are  to  be  found  more  in  the  open 
clearings.  Though  there  are  no  dangerous  animals,  there 
are  many  pests,  the  worst  being  the  leeches,  of  which  there 
are  three  kinds,  two  that  lurk  in  the  grass  and  bushes,  the 
other  being  aquatic — the  horse-leech.  Mosquitoes,  stinging 
flies,  and  ants  are  common,  and  the  scorpion  and  centipede 
are  there  as  well.  Snakes,  though  numerous,  are  rarely  seen, 
for  they  swiftly  and  silently  retire  on  the  approach  of  man, 
and  one  variety  only,  the  hamadryad,  the  great  cobra  or  snake- 
eating  snake,  is  said  to  be  aggressive.  The  varieties  of  land 
and  water  snakes  are  many,  there  being  some  120  different 
species.  Natives  often  fall  victims  to  snake  bites.  Pythons 
attain  a  length  of  over  twenty  feet  ; 2  they  seldom  attack  man, 
though  instances  have  been  known  of  people  having  been 
killed  by  these  reptiles,  and  the  following  story,  taken  from 
the  Sarawak  Gazette,  will  show  how  dangerous  they  can  be. 
At  a  little  village  a  man  and  his  small  son  were  asleep  to- 
gether. In  the  middle  of  the  night  the  child  shrieked  out 
that  he  was  being  taken  by  a  crocodile,  and  the  father,  to  his 
horror,  found  that  a  snake  had  closed  its  jaws  on  the  boy's 
head.  With  his  hands  he  prised  the  reptile's  jaws  open  and 
released  his  son  ;  but  in  his  turn  he  had  to  be  rescued  by 
some  neighbours,  for  the  python  had  wound  itself  around  his 
body.      Neither  was  much  hurt. 

1  Probably  the  first  European  to  discover  these  strange  insects  was  the  Italian 
Pigafetta,  who  in  1521  noticed  them  in  the  island  of  Palawan,  to  the  north  of  Borneo, 
and  thus  quaintly  describes  them  :  "In  this  island  are  found  certain  trees,  the  leaves 
of  which,  when  they  fall  off,  are  animated,  and  walk."  He  surmised  they  lived  upon 
air. — Magellan,  Hakluyt  Society. 

2  St.  John  mentions  one  that  was  killed  at  Brooketon  26  feet  2  inches  in  length. 
—  Life  in  the  Forests  of  the  Far  Fast,  1863. 


BORNEO  9 

Of  the  wild  animals  in  Sarawak,  wild  cattle  and  the 
rhinoceros  have  nearly  disappeared  before  their  ruthless 
destroyer,  man  ;  and  such  would  have  been  the  fate  of  that 
huge,  though  harmless,  anthropoid,  the  maias,  or  "  orang-utan," 
at  the  hands  of  collectors,  had  not  the  Government  placed  a 
check  upon  them  by  limiting  the  number  each  may  collect.1 
Deer,  the  sambur,  the  muntjac  or  barking  deer,  and  the 
little  mouse-deer,  and  also  wild  pig,  of  which  there  are 
several  species,  abound.2  Numerous  too  are  the  monkeys 
and  apes,  and  numerous  are  the  species  ;  the  more  peculiar  of 
the  former  being  the  proboscis  monkey,  a  species  confined  to 
Borneo,  and  of  the  latter  the  gentle  gibbons,  who  announce 
the  dawn,  making  the  woods  ring  and  echo  with  their 
melodious  gurgling  whoops.  There  are  two  kinds  of  diminu- 
tive bears,  the  tree-leopard,  wild  cat,  the  scaly  ant-eater,  the 
porcupine,  the  otter,  the  lemur,  and  other  small  animals, 
including  the  flying  fox,  flying  squirrel,  flying  lizard,  flying 
frog,  a  peculiar  kind  of  rat  with  a  tail  which  bears  a  close  re- 
semblance to  a  feather,3  and  huge  toads  nine  inches  in  height.4 
But  to  the  casual  traveller  in  the  dense  jungle  with  but  a 
limited  view,  excepting  an  occasional  monkey,  or  a  pig  or 
deer  startled  from  its  lair,  few  of  these  animals  will  be  visible. 

Of  the  valuable  products  of  the  jungle  it  will  be  sufficient 
to  note  here  that  gutta, camphor,  cutch,  and  dammar-producing 
trees  abound  ;  also  creepers  from  which  rubber  is  extracted  ; 
and  rattans  of  various  kinds.  There  are  trees  from  the  nuts 
of  which  excellent  oil  is  expressed ;  and  many  kinds  of  useful 
woods, some  exceeding  hard  and  durable, and  some  ornamental. 

Man's  greatest  enemy  is  the  crocodile,  and  this  voracious 
saurian  becomes  a  dangerous  foe  when,  driven  perhaps  by 
scarcity  of  other  food,  it  has  once  preyed  upon  man,  for.  like 

1  With  regard  to  the  collection  of  orchids  it  has  also  been  found  necessary  to  do 
this.  Collectors  would  ruthlessly  destroy  all  orchids,  especially  the  rarer  kinds,  which 
they  could  not  carry  away,  in  order  to  prevent  others  from  collecting  these. 

2  In  about  1825  a  large  bone  was  found  in  a  cave  at  Bau  which  was  pronounced 
to  be  that  of  an  elephant.  These  animals  are  common  in  parts  of  N.  Borneo,  and 
Pigafetta  found  them  at  Bruni  in  1521. 

3  The  Ptilocercus  Lawii,  only  found  in  Borneo.  It  has  been  awarded  a  genus  all  to 
itself,  and  is  one  of  the  rarest  of  Bornean  curiosities. — J.  Hewitt,  Sarawak  Gazette 
September  1,  1908. 

4  "According  to  Mr.  Boulanger,  Borneo  can  boast  of  producing  the  longest  legged 
frog  and  the  longest  legged  toad  in  the  world." — Idem. 


io  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  tiger,  it  then  becomes  a  man-hunter  and  man-eater.  It 
will  lurk  about  landing  and  bathing-places  for  prey  ;  will 
snatch  a  man  bodily  from  a  boat  ;  and  one  has  been  known 
to  seize  a  child  out  of  its  mother's  arms  while  she  was  bathing 
it.  The  Sarawak  Gazette  records  numerous  deaths  due  to 
crocodiles,  though  by  no  means  all  that  happen,  and  many 
thrilling  adventures  with  these  reptiles.  Two  we  will  give  as 
interesting  instances  of  devotion  and  presence  of  mind.  A 
little  Malay  boy,  just  able  to  toddle,  was  larking  in  the  mud 
at  low  water  when  he  was  seized  by  a  crocodile,  which  was 
making  for  the  water  with  its  screaming  little  victim  in  its 
jaws,  when  the  child's  sister,  a  girl  of  twelve,  and  his  brother 
of  eight,  rushed  to  his  assistance.  The  boy  hopelessly  tried 
to  stop  the  crocodile  by  clinging  to  one  of  its  fore-paws,  but 
the  girl  jumped  upon  the  brute's  back,  and  gradually  working 
her  way  to  its  eyes  which  were  then  just  above  water, 
succeeded  in  gouging  out  one  with  her  fingers.  This  caused 
the  crocodile  promptly  to  drop  its  prey,  but  only  just  in 
time,  as  it  was  on  the  point  of  gliding  into  deep  water.  By 
the  girl's  vigorous  intervention  it  not  only  lost  its  prey  but 
also  its  life,  for  two  men  coming  up  hacked  the  brute  to  pieces. 
The  little  heroine  had  remembered  the  story  of  how  her 
grandfather  had  formerly  saved  his  life  in  the  same  way. 
To  scoop  out  the  eyes  is  the  only  chance  of  escape  for  one 
taken,  and  it  must  be  done  promptly.  The  little  boy  was 
scarcely  hurt.  The  girl's  courageous  deed  duly  received  a 
graceful  recognition  from  the  Ranee. 

Another  girl,  a  Dayak  girl  this  time,  rescued  her  mother, 
who  was  dragged  out  of  a  boat,  in  which  they  were  together, 
by  a  large  crocodile.  She  threw  herself  upon  the  monster, 
and  by  thrusting  her  fingers  into  its  eyes  compelled  the 
brute,  after  a  short  but  sharp  struggle,  to  release  its  prey. 

Death  caused  by  a  crocodile  is  one  of  the  most  horrible 
of  deaths,  and  it  is  often  a  protracted  one,  as  the  victim 
is  borne  along  above  water  for  some  distance,  then  taken 
down,  bashed  against  some  sunken  log,  and  brought  up 
again.  "  May  I  be  killed  by  a  crocodile  if  I  am  guilty  "  is 
a  common  invocation  made  by  Malays  in  protestation  of 
their  innocence  ;   in  other  words,  they  invoke  the  most  dread- 


BORNEO  ii 

ful  death  that  comes  within  their  ken.  So  did  once  a 
young  Malay  woman  in  the  Simanggang  Court  on  being 
convicted  of  a  serious  crime.  That  evening,  whilst  she  was 
bathing,  a  smothered  cry,  that  she  had  barely  time  to  utter, 
announced  that  her  prayer  had  been  heard. 

There  are  several  kinds  of  crocodiles,  broad  and  long 
snouted.  In  the  Perak  Museum  is  a  specimen  nearly 
twenty-five  feet  in  length,  but  the  longest  that  has  been 
caught  in  Sarawak,  and  authentically  measured,  was  nine- 
teen feet.  The  Government  gives  a  reward  for  killing  these 
pests,  which  is  paid  upon  some  250  to  300  annually  brought 
to  the  police  station  at  Kuching.  More  are  killed  in  the 
various  districts  of  which  no  record  is  kept. 

Sharks  of  several  species  abound,  but  cases  of  injury  by 
these  are  very  rare. 

Saw-fish  are  also  common,  and  with  their  long  spiny 
saws  are  dangerous  creatures.  A  fisherman  was  killed  by 
one  of  these  at  the  mouth  of  the  Sadong  ;  he  was  in  a  small 
canoe  when  the  fish,  which  he  had  cut  at  with  his  knife, 
struck  him  a  blow  on  his  neck  with  its  saw,  from  which  he 
died  almost  immediately. 

Excellent  fish  are  abundant,  such  as  mackerel  and 
herring,  considerably  larger  than  the  English  varieties, 
pomfret,  barbel,  soles,  mullets,  etc.,  and  some  of  beautiful 
colours  ;  also  crabs,  prawns,  and  oysters.  The  dugong 
(Malay  duyong),  the  sea-cow,  is  rare  in  Sarawak,  but 
common  in  North  Borneo,  as  is  also  the  whale  ;  in  Sarawak 
the  latter  are  occasionally  stranded  on  the  beach.  Turtles 
abound  ;  these  are  preserved  for  the  sake  of  their  eggs, 
which  are  considered  a  great  delicacy. 

We  will  now  consider  the  races  that  occupy  Sarawak 
territory  ;  and  the  following  brief  ethnological  notes  with 
regard  to  those  of  Indonesian  stock  will  be  all  that  is 
necessary  for  the  purposes  of  this  book  ;  to  attempt  any- 
thing like  an  accurate  classification  of  the  many  tribes  and 
sub-tribes  which  differentiate  the  heterogeneous  population 
of  the  country  would  be  beyond  its  scope,  even  were  it 
possible  to  trace  the  divergence  of  the  cognate  tribes  from 
the   original    stock,   and    of  the   sub-tribes    from    the   tribes. 


12  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

That  there  may  have  been  earlier  inhabitants  of  Borneo 
than  those  now  existing  in  the  island  is  possible.  Traces 
of  neolithic  man  have  been  found,  but  these  may  be  due  to 
the  first  settlers  having  brought  with  them  stone  weapons 
cherished  as  charms.  Of  paleolithic  man  not  a  trace  has 
been  discovered.1  To  attempt  to  determine  the  flow  of 
mankind  into  the  country,  or  to  decide  which  of  the  tribes 
of  Indonesian  stock  now  found  in  Sarawak  was  the  first  to 
occupy  the  soil,  is  to  undertake  an  impossible  task."  It 
may  be  accepted  that  the  most  barbarous  peoples,  the  Ukits, 
Bukitans,  Punans,  and  other  fast  vanishing  tribes,  were  the 
earliest  inhabitants  of  whom  we  know  anything,  and  that 
they  were  immigrants.  But  whence  they  came  we  know 
not.  These  tribes  are  all  more  or  less  related  in  language 
and  customs,  and  in  Borneo  difference  in  names  does  not 
always  denote  any  essential  racial  distinction. 

As  an  instance  of  this  we  have  the  Lugats,  of  whom  only 
a  very  few  are  left,  the  Lisums,  the  Bliuns,  a  tribe  that  has 
quite  died  out,  the  Segalangs,  and  the  Seru  Dayaks  of  the 
Kalaka,  a  tribe  which  is  fast  disappearing.  The  above  sub- 
tribes  take  their  name  from  rivers  widely  apart,  and  though 
their  names  differ  they  are  of  the  same  race,  sub-tribes  of 
the  Ukits.  Their  tradition  is  that  three  or  four  hundred 
years  ago  the  Ukits  lived  in  the  Lugat  (now  the  Gat)  river, 
a  branch  of  the  Baleh  (hence  we  have  the  Lugats  now  living 
in  the  Anap),  but  they  were  driven  out  by  the  Kayans. 
Some  went  to  the  Lisum  river  (hence  we  have  the  Lisums), 
and  some  to  Kapit,  where  they  built  strong  houses  on  the 
site  of  the  present  fort,  but  these  they  were  eventually 
forced  to  evacuate,  and  again  they  migrated  down  river, 
first  to  Tujong,  near  the  Kanowit,  and  afterwards  farther 
down  again  to  Bunut,  by  Benatang.  From  Bunut  they 
were  driven  out  by  their  implacable  foes,  and  they  dispersed 
to  Segalang  (in  the  Rejang  delta),  to  Bliun  (in  the  Kanowit), 

1  "  Mr.  St.  John  (Forests  of  the  Far  East,  p.  190)  mentions  stones  or  pebbles  of  a 
dark  colour  considered  by  the  natives  as  sacred.  Some  such,  found  at  Quop,  were 
said  to  have  been  lost  during  the  civil  wars.  They  are  possibly  paleolithic  imple- 
ments."— Reccari,  op.  cit.  p.  367. 

-  The  late  Rajah  wrote  in  1838  :  ' '  We  know  scarcely  anything  of  these  varieties  of 
the  human  race  beyond  the  bare  fact  of  their  existence."  We  have  since  learnt 
something  of  their  languages  and  customs  ;  of  their  origin  nothing. 


BORNEO 


13 


and  to  Seru  in  the  Kalaka.1  This  tradition  is  supported 
by  the  strong  evidence  of  language,  and  there  is  little  reason 
for  disregarding  it.  After  being  driven  out  of  Lugat,  some 
of  the  Ukits  went  over  to  the  Kapuas,  where,  as  in  the 
Baleh,   to   which    river    some    eventually   returned,   they   are 


UK1T    CHIEF,    WIFE    AND    CHILD. 


still  known  as  Ukits.  The  Bliuns,  Segalangs,  and  Serus 
became  civilised  owing  to  contact  with  the  Malays  and 
Melanaus.  The  Ukits,  Bukitans,  and  Punans,  with  the  ex- 
ception  of  the   Punan   Bah  of  Balui,  are  the  wildest   of  all 

1  Mr.  F.  D.  de  Rozario.  The  Sarawak  Gazette,  September  2,  1901.  Mr.  de 
Rozario,  the  officer  in  charge  of  Kapit  Fort,  has  been  in  the  Government  service  for 
some  fifty  years,  of  which  nearly  all  have  been  spent  in  ihe  Upper  Rejang,  and  his 
knowledge  of  the  natives,  their  customs  and  languages,  is  unique. 


14 


A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 


the  races  in  the  island.  The  Ukits  are  light  in  complexion  ; 
tall  and  well  knit,  and  better  looking  than  other  inland 
tribes.  Formerly  they  did  not  reside  in  houses,  or  cultivate 
the  soil,  but  roamed  about  in  the  jungle,  and  subsisted  on 
wild   fruit   and   the   animals  they  killed.      But  some  of  these 

have  begun  to  erect  poor 
dwellings,  and  do  a  little 
elementary  farming.  They 
are  expert  with  the  blow- 
pipe, and  in  the  manufacture 
of  the  upas -poison,  with 
which  the  points  of  their 
needle-like  arrows  are  tinged. 
But  it  is  quite  open  to  ques- 
tion whether  these  poor 
savages  may  not  be  a  de- 
generate race,  driven  from 
their  homes  and  from  com- 
parative civilisation  by  more 
powerful  races  that  followed 
and  hunted  them  from  their 
farms  to  the  jungle.  Beccari 
{pp.  cit.  p.  363)  says  that 
they  "  are  savages  in  the 
true  name  of  the  word,  but 
they  are  neither  degraded  nor 
inferior  races  in  the  series  of 
mankind.  Their  primitive 
condition  depends  more  than 
anything  else  on  their  no- 
madic or  wandering  life,  and  on  the  ease  with  which  they 
live  on  the  produce  of  the  forests,  and  on  that  of  the 
chase  which  the  sumpitan  (blow-pipe)  procures  for  them. 
This  has  no  doubt  contributed  to  keep  them  from  associating 
with  their  fellow-beings,  and  from  settling  in  villages  or  erect- 
ing permanent  houses.  I  believe  that  these,  although  they 
must  be  considered  as  the  remnants  of  an  ancient  Bornean 
people,  are  not  descended  from  autochthonous  savages,  but 
are  rather  the   present-day   representatives  of  a  race  which 


BORNEO  15 

has  become  savage."  And  Beccari  is  of  opinion  "  that  it  is 
difficult  to  deny  that  Borneo  has  had  older  and  perhaps 
more  primitive  inhabitants."  The  natives  have  legends  of 
former  races  having  occupied  the  land  ;  the  most  powerful 
were,  according  to  the  Punans,  the  Antu-Jalan,  who  lived  in 
the  Balui,  around  the  mouth  of  the  Belaga,  where  the  fort 
of  that  name  now  stands.  They  disappeared,  but  have  now 
returned  in  the  persons  of  the  white  men.  So  the  Punans 
believe,  and  other  tribes  hug  other  myths.  These  savage 
people  are,  or  rather  were,  the  bitter  enemies  of  the  Dayaks, 
and  a  terror  to  them.  Silently  and  unperceived,  they  would 
steal  on  their  hereditary  enemies  whilst  these  latter  were 
collecting  jungle  produce,  or  employed  on  their  farms,  and 
wound  them  to  death  with  their  poisoned  arrows. 

In  former  days,  when  they  were  more  powerful,  the 
Bukitans  would  openly  attack  the  Dayaks,  and  as  late  as 
1856  they  destroyed  one  of  the  large  communal  Dayak 
houses  on  the  Krian,  and  also  attacked  the  Serikei  Dayaks. 
The  Ukits  do  not  take  heads,  and  the  Punans  do  not  tattoo. 
The  latter  and  the  Bukitans  are  clever  makers  of  rattan 
mats,  which  are  in  demand  by  Europeans  and  Chinese. 
The  Ukits  and  the  Bukitans  reside  on  the  upper  waters  of 
the  Rejang,  Baleh,  and  Kapuas ;  and  the  Punans  in  the 
Baram  and  Balui. 

The  Banyoks  and  the  Seduans  are,  like  the  Segalangs, 
with  whom  they  have  intermixed,  probably  off-shoots  of  the 
Ukit  tribe.  They  have  recently  merged,  and  occupy  the 
same  village  in  the  Rejang  below  Sibu  fort.  Like  the 
Tanjongs  and  the  Kanowits  they  are  clever  basket  makers. 

The  Sians,  another  off-shoot  of  the  Ukits,  live  below 
Belaga  fort.1 

All  these  small  tribes  inhabiting  the  interior,  though  a 
few  are  found  near  the  coast,  are  dwindling  away,  mainly  in 
consequence  of  in-and-in  breeding.  Of  some  of  the  tribes 
of  the  same  stock  only  a  few  families  are  left,  and  in  others 
only  a  few  people,  while  one  or  two  have  totally  disappeared 
within  quite  recent  years. 

The  next   Indonesian   tribes   to   follow  were  the  Kayans 

1   See  note  2,  page  18. 


1 6  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

and  then  the  Kenyahs,  two  that  are  closely  allied,  and 
both,  according  to  tradition,  came  from  the  south,  probably 
from  the  Celebes.  They  took  possession  of  the  Belungan  (or 
Batang  Kayan)  river-basin,  and  overflowed  into  those  of 
Baram  and  Balui  (the  right  hand  branch  of  the  Rejang). 
These  powerful  tribes  found  these  river-basins  unoccupied 
except  by  scattered  families  of  the  tribes  above  mentioned, 
whom  they  drove  into  the  jungle.  In  the  Baram  they  re- 
mained undisturbed,  as  also  in  the  Rejang  till  recent  years. 
Down  the  latter  river  they  spread  as  far  as  Kapit ;  at  that 
time  both  the  Sea-Dayaks  and  Malays  were  there,  and  over 
them  the  Kayans  domineered,  driving  the  former  from  their 
settlements  at  Xgmah,1  and  harassing  the  latter  in  the 
Kanowit,  and  even  in  the  Sekrang.  Eventually,  however, 
the  Kayans  were  forced  to  fall  back  before  the  ever  increas- 
ing Dayaks,  and  to  retire  to  the  head-waters  of  the  Balui, 
and  now,  with  the  exception  of  one  small  settlement,  all 
reside  above  the  Belaga. 

When  we  consider  the  large  area  occupied  by  the  tribes 
of  Kayans  and  Kenyahs,  who  may  be  classed  together,  it  will 
be  seen  how  important  they  are.  Besides  inhabiting  the 
upper  waters  of  the  Baram  and  Rejang,  they  are  found  in 
very  large  numbers  on  the  Batang  Kayan.  The  Mahkam 
(Koti  or  Coti)  is  also  thickly  inhabited  by  Kayans,  and 
many  live  on  the  Barito  (Banjermasin),  and  on  the  Kapuas. 
The  Kayans  and  Kenyahs  are  tattooed,  as  are  most  of  the 
savage  people  of  Indonesian  origin  in  the  interior.  When 
the  children  are  young  the  lobes  of  the  ears  are  pierced, 
and  by  the  insertion  of  heavy  lead  or  copper  rings  the 
lobes  become  gradually  so  distended  as  to  hang  down  to  the 
shoulders,  and,  with  elderly  women,  often  lower.  That  this 
is  a  very  old  custom,  and  not  peculiar  to  these  people,  is 
shown  by  the  sculptures  in  the  ancient  Boro  Budor  temple 
in    Java,   where    men    and    women    are    figured    with    such 


1  The  Indra  Lila  (brother  of  the  Lila  Pelawan,  who  was  the  present  Rajah's 
Malay  chief  at  Lingga  over  fifty  years  ago),  was  their  chief.  Trouble  arose  owing 
to  Akani  Nipa,  the  celebrated  Kayan  chief,  who  will  be  noticed  hereafter,  having 
fallen  in  love  with  a  Malay  girl  of  rank.  His  suit  being  rejected,  he  threatened 
to  forcibly  abduct  the  lady,  a  threat  which  he  could  have  carried  out  with  ease,  so 
the  Malays  rled  with  her  to  Lingga.      This  occurred  some  eighty  years  ago. 


BORNEO 


17 


elongated  ear  lobes,  having  ear  pendants  and  plugs  exactly 
similar  to  those  in  use  by  the  Kayans  and  Kenyahs.  Most 
Indonesian  tribes  of  the  interior  retain  this  fashion.1  These 
Kayans  and  Kenyahs  are  on  a  slightly  higher  grade  of  civil- 
isation than  the  Sea-Dayaks,  building  finer  houses,  having 
more  rule  and  order  among  themselves,  and  being  expert  in 
the  manufacture  of  excellent  weapons,  extracting  their  iron 
for  that  purpose  from  the  native  ore.  In  character  they  are 
vindictive  and  cruel,  but  brave,  and  not  without  some  good 
qualities.  Formerly  they  practised  hideous  cruelties  on  their 
captives  and  slaves,  and  im- 
palement was  a  common  form 
of  punishment.  The  women 
were  even  more  barbarous 
than  the  men,  being  the  most 
ingenious  and  inhuman  in  de- 
vising tortures.  The  Kayans 
under  Sarawak  rule  have 
been  checked  in  these  matters, 
and  human  sacrifices  have 
become  a  thing  of  the  past. 
But  that  these  propensities  are 
only  dormant  is  instanced  by 
a  case  that  occurred  but  a  few 
years  ago,  far  up  the  Balui. 
Four  young  Dayaks,  survivors 
of  a  party  of  gutta-percha  collectors,  who  had  been  cut  off  and 
killed  by  the  Punans,  after  wandering  for  many  days  in  the 
jungle,  arrived  destitute  and  starving  at  a  Kayan  house,  and 
asked  for  food  and  shelter.  Instead,  the  Kayans  bound  the 
young  men,  and,  after  breaking  their  legs  and  arms,  handed 
them  over  to  the  women,  who  slowly  despatched  them  by 
hacking  them  to  pieces  with  little  knives.  And  in  the 
Baram,  in   1882,  a  Kayan   chief  caused   two  captives  to  be 

1  One  of  Magellan's  chroniclers  records  that  in  1521  men  were  found  in  Gilo 
(Gilolo  or  Jilolo,  to  the  east  of,  and  near  to  the  Celebes),  "  with  ears  so  long  and 
pendulous  that  they  reached  to  their  shoulders. — Magellan,  Hakluyt  Society.  Marsden, 
History  of  Sumatra,  says  that  the  people  of  Neas  island  off  the  west  coast  of 
Sumatra  elongate  their  ears  in  the  same  manner ;  so  do  the  Sagais  of  Belungan.  The 
sculptures  above  mentioned,  and  the  fact  that  this  curious  custom  still  exists  in 
southern  India,  point  to  it  being  one  of  Hindu  origin. 

C 


KAYAN    GIRL,    SHOWING    ELONGATED 
EARS. 


iS  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

bound  and  thrown  down  from  the  lofty  verandah  of  his 
house  to  the  ground,  where  they  were  decapitated — quite  in 
Ashantee  manner.1 

Among  the  Kayans  and  Kenyahs  a  broad  distinction 
exists  between  the  classes.  There  are  but  the  chiefs 
and  their  families,  and  only  serfs  and  slaves  under  them. 
The  chiefs  are  not  chosen  by  the  people,  as  is  the  case 
among  the  Dayaks.  They  assume  their  position  by  right 
of  birth,  or  by  might.  The  position  of  the  serf  is  little  better 
than  that  of  the  slave,  and  all  they  may  gain  by  their 
industry  is  seized  by  the  chiefs.  It  is  the  difference  that 
existed  in  Germany  between  the  Freie  and  the  Unfreie  ;  in 
England  in  Saxon  times  between  the  thegn  and  the  villein. 
Although  the  Kayans  take  heads  in  warfare,  they  do  not  value 
them  as  do  the  Dayaks,  and  will  part  with  them  to  the 
latter  ;  and  they  are  not  head-hunters  in  the  strict  sense 
of  the  term.  The  Kayans  are  a  decreasing  race,  not  so 
the  Kenyahs.  Both  are  capable  of  improvement,  especially 
the  latter  ;  and  they  are  improving,  notably  in  the  Baram, 
where  they  are  directly  under  the  control  of  the  Government, 
since  that  river  district  was  ceded  to  Sarawak  in  1883. 

The  Tanjongs,  Kanowits,  Kajamans,  and  Sekapans,2  arc 
cognate  tribes,  probably  of  the  same  stock  as  the  Kayans 
and  Kenyahs.  Formerly  they  were  large  tribes,  but  are 
now  each  reduced  to  a  solitary  village.  They  are  to  be 
found  only  on  the  Rejang.  The  dialects  of  the  two  first  are 
intermediary  between  those  of  the  Melanaus  and  the  Kayans, 
and  they  live  in  an  intermediary  position.  The  other  two 
tribes  live  close  to  Belaga  fort  in  the  Kayan  country  ;  their 
dialects  vary. 

The  Malohs  of  Kapuas  in  Dutch  Borneo  formerly  had  a 
large  village  at  Kanowit,  but  nearly  all  have  returned  to 
their  own  country,  and  the  tribe  is  now  represented  by  a 
sprinkling  only  among  the  Sea-Dayaks.  They  are  wonder- 
fully skilled   workers  in   brass  and  copper,  and  manufacture 

1    Human  sacrifices  are  still  in  vogue  amongst  the  Kayans  and  Kenyahs  in  the 

Kayan  and  Mahkam  rivers. 
-  The   Kajamans,  Sekapans,  Sians,  and  Lanans  are  said  to  have  been  the  first  to 
over  from  the  Bantang  Kayan  (Belungan)  into  the  Balui  (Rejang).      They 
probably  then  one  tribe. 


BORNEO 


19 


the  peculiar  brass  corsets  worn  by  the  Sea-Dayak  women, 
and  their  armlets,  anklets,  leg  and  ear-rings,  and  other 
personal  ornaments ;  and  they  have  been  known  to  turn 
their  talents  to  making  counterfeit  coin.  They  bear  a 
great  reputation  for  bravery,  and  are  dangerous  men  to 
cross. 

The  Lanans  live  amongst  the  Kayans,  to  whom  they 
are  allied,  in  the  Balui,  and  have  seven  or  eight  villages. 

The  Sebops  and  Madangs  are  Kenyah  sub-tribes. 

The  Melanau,  a  large  and  most  important  tribe  inhabit- 
ing the  coast  between  Kedurong  point  and  the  mouths  of 
the  Rejang,  is  also  of  Indonesian  stock,  though,  like  the 
Malays,  but  in  a  lesser  degree,  they  are  of  mixed  breed. 
In  speech  these  people  are  allied  to  the  Kayans,  and  are 
regarded  by  some  as  a  branch  tribe.  Certain  of  their 
customs  are  similar,  and  if  they  differ  from  the  Kayans  in 
many  respects,  this  is  due  partly  to  environment,  but 
mainly  to  the  majority  of  them  having  embraced 
Muhammadanism,  and  to  their  having  intermarried  with  the 
Malays,  with  whom  they  are  now  to  a  certain  extent 
assimilated  in  customs.  They  cultivate  sago  on  a  large  scale, 
and  since  the  exit  of  their  old  Bruni  rulers — or  rather 
oppressors — are  able  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  labour,  and 
have  increased  their  plantations  considerably.  At  Bruit, 
Matu,  Oya,  Muka,1  and  Bintulu,  there  are  jungles  of  sago 
palms,  and  these  places  supply  by  far  the  largest  proportion 
of  the  world's  consumption  of  sago.  The  people  being 
industrious  and  thrifty  are  well  off.  The  above-named 
places  are  now  large  towns,  and  Muka  is  as  large  as  Bruni. 
The  Melanaus  are  skilled  in  working  iron,  are  good 
carpenters,  and  excellent  boat  builders.  Though  they  are 
by  nature,  like  the  cognate  Kayans,  vindictive  and  quarrel- 
some, serious  crime  is  not  common  among  them,  and  they 
are  a  law-abiding  people.  Formerly  among  the  Kayans 
and  Melanaus  when  one  of  their  houses  was  about  to  be 
built,  a  hole  was  dug  in  the  ground,  a  slave  woman  together 
with    some    beads    placed    in    it,    and    the    first    iron-wood 

1  Muka  is  the  Malay  for  face.  The  word  has  been  carried  into  the  English 
language  as  mug,  contemptuously  "an  ugly  mug,"  from  the  Sanskrit  word  muhka, 
the  face. 


20 


A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 


supporting  post  was  levered  up,  and  then  driven  through 
her  into  the  ground.  This  was  an  oblation  to  the  Earth 
Spirit. 

The  Kadayans  do  not  appear  to  be  allied  to  any  of  the 
races  in  N.W.  Borneo  ;  those  in  Sarawak  have  migrated 
from  Bruni  within  recent  times  to  escape  oppression.  They 
are  a  peaceful  and  agricultural  race,  and  many  of  them 
are  Muhammadans.1 


The  Muruts  and  Bisayas  are  considerable  tribes  inhabit- 
ing the  Limbang,  Trusan,  and  Lawas  rivers  in  Sarawak,  and 
beyond.  They  are  of  Indonesian  stock,  and  of  them  a  full 
and  interesting  account  has  been  given  by  Sir  Spenser  St. 
John  in  his  Life  in  the  Forests  of  the  Far  East. 

The  heads  of  all  these  tribes  are  dolichocephalic  or  boat- 
shaped.  They  are  yellow-stained,  with  hair  either  straight 
or  slightly  waved. 

1  Mr.  E.  A.  W.  Cox,  formerly  Resident  of  the  Trusan,  and  latterly  of  the 
Bintulu,  says  the  Kadayan  tradition  is  that  many  generations  back  they  were  brought 
from  Deli  in  Sumatra  by  a  former  Sultan  of  Bruni.  Tiny  have  always  been  the 
immediate  followers  of  the  sultans,  funning  their  main  bodyguard.  They  haw 
distinctive  language  of  their  own,  and  talk  a  low  Brum  patois  ;  their  dress  is  [x-culiar  ; 
and  their  svstem  of  rice  cultivation  is  far  in  advance  of  all  other  Bomeans. 


BORNEO  21 

The  Land-Dayaks,  so  named  by  Europeans  in  consequence 
of  their  not  being  accustomed  to  go  to  sea,  or  even  to  the 
use  of  boats,  either  for  trading  or  piratical  purposes,  number 
several  tribes,  with  some  variations  in  language.  They 
occupy  localities  up  the  rivers  Sadong,  Samarahan,  Sarawak, 
and  Lundu.  The  remains  found  among  them  of  Hinduism, 
such  as  a  stone-shaped  bull,1  and  other  carved  monumental 
stones,  and  the  name  of  their  deity,  Jevvata,  as  also  the 
refusal  among  them  to  touch  the  flesh  of  cattle  and  deer, 
and  the  cremation  of  their  dead,  show  that  they  must  have 
been  brought  into  intimate  contact  with  the  Hindus,  probably 
at  the  time  when  the  Hindu-Javanese  Empire  of  Majapahit 
extended  to  Borneo.2  In  customs  and  appearance  they 
differ  considerably  from  the  other  tribes.  They  have  a 
tradition  that  they  arrived  from  the  north  in  large  ships, 
possibly  from  Siam  or  Cochin-China.  Having  been  oppressed 
and  persecuted  and  hunted  for  their  heads  by  the  Sea- 
Dayaks  they  have  retreated  to  the  tops  of  hills  and  rocky 
eminences. 

Of  the  Land-Dayak  Captain  the  Hon.  H.  Keppel3says: — 

In  character  he  is  mild  and  tractable,  hospitable  when  he  is  well 
used,  grateful  for  kindness,  industrious,  honest,  and  simple ;  neither 
treacherous  nor  cunning,  and  so  truthful  that  the  word  of  one  of 
them  might  safely  be  -taken  before  the  oath  of  half  a  dozen  Borneans 

1  The  Hindu  sacred  bull. 

2  Writing  of  the  Rafflesia,  ' '  those  extraordinary  parasitical  plants,  whose  huge  and 
startling  conspicuous  flowers  spring  from  the  ground  like  gigantic  mushrooms, "  Beccari 
(op.  cit.  p.  102)  says,  "The  Land-Dayaks  called  the  variety  he  found  at  Poi  (and 
which  he  named  R.  Tuan-Mudre,  in  honour  of  the  present  Rajah)  '  Bua  pakma'  ; 
evidently  a  corruption  of  '  patma '  or  'padma,'  the  sacred  lotus  (Xelumbicui 
speciosum)  of  the  Hindus,  which  is  not  a  native  of  Borneo.  This  is,  no  doubt,  one 
of  the  many  traces  of  the  ancient  faith  once  professed  by  the  Dayaks,  who  have 
preserved  the  memory  of  the  emblematical  flower,  transferring  its  name  to  that  of 
another  plant  conspicuous  for  its  size  and  singular  appearance.  In  Java,  as  well  as 
in  Sumatra,  the  Rafflesia  is  known  as  '  Patma'  ;  but  there  the  fact  is  not  surpiising, 
for  the  prevalence  of  Hinduism  in  those  islands  is  a  matter  of  not  very  remote  history. " 
Pakma  or  patma  is  the  Malay  name  for  the  lotus. 

The  late  Sir  Hugh  Low  notes  that  the  Land-Dayaks,  who  (in  common  with  most 
of  the  inland  tribes)  regulate  their  farming  seasons  by  the  motions  of  the  Pleiades, 
call  that  constellation  Sahara,  probably  from  the  Bat ara  Sakra  of  the  Hindu-Javan 
mythology,  to  whose  particular  care  the  earth  was  confided. — Sarawak. 

Hindu  gold  ornaments  and  a  Persian  coin,  bearing  a  date  corresponding  with  the 
year  960  A.  D. ,  have  been  discovered  up  the  Sarawak  river,  and  some  in  the  centre 
of  the  Land-Dayak  country,  which  shows  that  the  people  of  the  ancient  Hindu-Javan 
settlement  at  Santubong  must  have  spread  into  the  interior,  and  have  mixed  with  the 
natives. 

:>  Afterwards  Admiral  of  the  Fleet. 


22 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


(Malays).  In  their  dealings  they  are  very  straightforward  and  correct, 
and  so  trustworthy  that  they  rarely  attempt,  even  after  a  lapse  of 
years,  to  evade  payment  of  a  just  debt.  On  the  reverse  of  this 
picture  there  is  little  unfavourable  to  be  said,  and  the  wonder  is 
that  they  have  learned  so  little  deceit  and  falsehood  where  the 
examples  before  them  have  been  so  rife. 


*«1 


ML 


WW, 


LAND-DAYAK    CHIEF,     WITH    HIS    .SON    AND    GRANDSON. 


It  is  difficult,  perhaps  impossible  now,  to  assign  the 
position  of  the  Land-Dayaks  with  regard  to  the  other 
native  peoples.  Their  language  is  quite  different  from  the 
others,  and  in  many  other  essentials  they  differ. 

Distinct  from  all  these  races  in  physical  character  and 
language  are  the  Sea-Dayaks.  These  are  proto-Malays,  that 
is  to  say  they  belong  to  the  same  ethnic  family,  but  represent 
that  stock  in  a  purer,  less  mixed  stage.  Radically  their 
language  is  the  same  as  the  Malay.     They  are  brachycephalic, 


BORNEO 


23 


bullet-headed,  with  more  or  less  flattened  noses,  are  straight- 
haired,  almost  beardless,  with  skin  of  olive  hue,  or  the  colour 
of  new  fallen  leaves.  They  migrated  from  the  west,  probably 
from  Sumatra,  at  a  period  previous  to  the  conversion  of  the 
Malays  to  Islam,  for  their 
language,  which  with  slight 
dialectic  differences,  is  purely 
Malay,  contains  no  Arabic 
except  of  very  recent  intro- 
duction. The  Sea-Dayak 
inhabits  the  Batang  Lupar, 
Saribas,  Kalaka,  and  Rejang 
rivers.  They  are  gradually 
spreading  into  the  rivers  of 
the  north-east,  and  there  are 
now  a  good  many  in  the  Oya, 
Muka,  Tatau,  and  Baram 
districts. 

A  Sea-Dayak  is  a  clean 
built  man,  upright  in  gait,  not 
tall,  the  average  height  being 
5  ft.  3  inches.  The  nose  is 
somewhat  flat,  the  hair  straight 
with  no  curl  in  it.  The 
face  is  generally  pleasing 
from  the  frankness  and  good 
nature  that  show  in  it.  The 
women  have  good  figures,  light 
and  elastic;  well-formed  busts, 
with  interesting,  indeed  often 
pretty,  faces  ;  the  skins  are, 
as  already  stated,  of  so  light  a 
brown  as  to  be  almost  yellow. 
They  have  lustrous  dark  eyes  and  black,  straight  hair. 

The  Dayaks  are  very  fond  of  their  parents,  brothers, 
sisters,  and  of  their  children,  and  often  a  strong  attachment 
exists  between  man  and  wife  that  lasts  for  life.  The  Dayaks 
have  each  but  one  wife,  but  it  does  not  follow  by  any 
means  that  the  first  union  lasts.      A  young  couple  may  find 


SEA-DAYAK    CHIEF. 

(The  Pengulu  Dalam,  Munan) 


24  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

incompatibility  of  temper  after  a  week  or  two,  and  the  union 
is  dissolved  on  the  plea  of  a  dream  inimical  to  its  continuance. 

Incest  is  considered  to  be  the  worst  of  crimes,  bringing  a 
curse  on  the  country.  Both  incest  and  bigamy  were  formerly 
punishable  by  a  cruel  death,  now  by  heavy  fines,  but  for 
the  former  offence  the  fine  is  far  heavier  than  for  the  latter. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  are  most  hospitable,  indeed  a  breach 
of  hospitality  is  regarded  as  a  punishable  offence.  They 
obtained  their  designation  from  the  English  who  first  came 
in  contact  with  them,  on  account  of  their  skill  in  navigating 
the  sea  along  the  coast,  although  living  inland,  and  to 
differentiate  them  from  the  Dayaks  of  Sarawak  proper,  who 
were  styled  Land-Dayaks,  because  these  latter  were  inexpert 
boatmen,  and  very  few  of  them  could  paddle  or  swim.  As 
shown  farther  on,  Dayak  really  signifies  an  inland  man. 

The  Sea-Dayak  is  now  the  dominant  race  in  Sarawak, 
and  in  time  will  become  so  over  the  whole  of  the  north-west 
of  Borneo.  The  spread  of  this  stock  in  former  years  appears 
to  have  been  slow,  owing  to  continual  intestine  wars,  but 
since  the  advent  of  the  white  man,  the  discontinuance  of 
these  feuds,  and  the  forced  adoption  of  a  peaceable  life, 
these  people  have  increased  enormously  in  numbers.  Fifty 
years  ago  there  were  but  few  of  them  to  be  found  out- 
side the  Batang  Lupar,  Saribas,  and  Kalaka  river-basins, 
but  now,  though  the  population  on  these  rivers  has  grown 
considerably,  it  is  less  than  that  of  the  same  race  on  the 
Rejang  alone,  and  they  are  spreading  into  the  Oya,  Muka, 
Tatau,  and  Baram  river-basins.  The  Melanau  population  of 
the  two  first-named  rivers  live  entirely  either  on  the  coast  or 
near  to  it,  and  the  Dayaks  found  the  upper  reaches  unoccupied. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  have  many  good  qualities  that  are 
more  or  less  lacking  in  the  other  inland  tribes.  They  are 
industrious,  honest  and  thrifty,  sober  and  cheerful,  and 
comparatively  moral.  But  the  characteristics  that  mainly 
distinguish  them  are  energy  and  independence.  They  are 
exceedingly  sensitive,  especially  the  women,  and  will  seek 
refuge   from   shame   in   suicide  ; ]    like  the   Malays  the   men 

1   Disappointment  in  marriage  and  unkindness  or  harshness  on  the  part  of  relatives 
are  common  causes  of  suicide  bv  man  or  woman,  but  the  most  common  motive  is 


BORNEO  25 

will  sometimes,  though  not  often,  amok  when  suffering  from 
depression  caused  by  grief,  shame,  or  jealousy,  for  in  the  East 
this  peculiar  form  of  insanity  is  by  no  means  confined  to  the 
Malay  as  is  popularly  supposed.1  Amongst  them  general 
social  equality  exists,  and  it  is  extended  to  their  women. 
They  do  not  suffer  their  chiefs  to  abuse  their  powers  as  the 
Kayan  and  Kenyah  chiefs  are  allowed  to  do,  but  they  are 
quite  ready  to  submit  to  them  when  justness  and  uprightness 
is  shown.  They  are  superstitious  and  restless,  and  require 
a  firm  hand  over  them,  and,  "  being  like  truant  children,  take 
a  great  advantage  of  kindness  and  forbearance,  and  become 
more  rebellious  if  threats  are  not  carried  into  execution." 
This  was  the  advice  given  by  the  present  Rajah  to  the 
Netherland  officials  some  years  ago.  Their  inherited  desire 
for  human  skulls,  and  their  old  savage  methods  of  obtaining 
them,  still,  in  a  degree,  have  a  strong  hold  on  the  Sea-Dayak 
character,  but  against  this  it  can  be  said  to  their  credit  that 
they  are  free  from  cruelty,  and  never  torture  a  captive  as  do 
the  Kayans  and  other  tribes.  They  are  kindly  to  their 
captives,  and  treat  them  as  members  of  the  family ;  and 
they  were  a  peaceable  people  before  they  were  led  astray 
by  the  half-bred  Arabs  and  the  Malays. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  are  the  collectors  of  jungle  produce,  in 
search  of  which  they  go  on  expeditions  far  into  the  interior 
— to  Sumatra,  the  Malayan  States,  and  North  Borneo — and 
are  away  for  months  at  a  time. 

The  Dayak  custom  of  head-hunting  is  founded  on  the 
same  principle  as  that  of  scalp-hunting  among  the  North- 
American  Indians.  A  young  man  formerly  found  it  difficult 
to  obtain  a  wife  till  he  had  got  at  least  one  head  to  present 

shame,  particularly  in  cases  of  an  unmarried  woman,  when  enceinte,  being  unable  to 
prove  to  the  tribe  who  the  father  of  her  child  is.  A  whole  family  has  been  known  to 
poison  themselves  to  escape  the  consequences  and  disgrace  which  would  have  befallen 
them  owing  to  one  of  them  having  been  the  accidental  cause  of  a  long  communal 
house  being  destroyed  by  fire.  Suicide  is  invariably  committed  by  eating  the 
poisonous  root  of  the  tuba  plant,  derris  elliptica. 

1  The  worst  on  record  in  Sarawak  was  committed  in  1894  by  a  half-bred 
Chinaman  ( his  mother  was  a  Segalang,  and  he  was  brought  up  as  one)  at  Seduan 
village,  three  miles  from  Sibu,  in  the  Rejang.  This  man,  who  had  just  been  dis- 
charged  from  jail,  arose  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  and  speared  or  cut  down  all  the  in- 
mates of  the  house — thirteen  women  and  children,  of  whom  only  two  or  three  survived. 
He  was  shot  by  Mr.  Q.  A.  Buck,  then  the  Resident  at  Sibu  (joined  1874,  retired  1899), 
who  was  quickly  on  the  spot,  and  was  the  means  of  preventing  a  further  loss  of  life. 


26 


A    HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 


to  the  object  of  his  heart  as  token  of  his  prowess  ;  but  it 
was  quite  immaterial  whether  the  head  was  that  of  man 
or  woman,  of  old  or  young.  If  a  Dayak  had  lost  a  near 
relative  it  became  his  duty  to  obtain  a  head,  for  until  this 
was  accomplished,  and  a  head  feast  had  been  given,  the 
family  must  remain  in  mourning,  and   the   departed   relative 

would  have  no  attendant  in 
Sembayan  (the  shades) ;  and  so 
in  the  event  of  a  chief  dying 
it  was  incumbent  upon  the 
warriors  of  the  tribe  to  procure 
one  or  more  heads,  in  order  that 
his  spirit  should  be  properly 
attended  by  the  spirits  of  those 
sacrificed  in  his  honour.  Thus 
head-hunting  became  more  or 
less  a  natural  instinct,  and  an 
obligatory  duty. 

The  ancient  Chinese  jars,1 
held  in  great  esteem  among  the 
natives,  and  very  highly  prized, 
being  supposed  to  be  possessed 
of  supernatural  powers  and  heal- 
ing virtues,'2  are  of  various  kinds 
and  value.  The  Gusi  is  the 
most  valued,  and  is  treated  with 
great  care  and  veneration,  and 
stands  about  eighteen  inches 
high.  Then  comes  the  Lingka, 
then  the  Benaga,3  about  two 
feet  high,  ornamented  with  the 
Chinese  dragon.  The  Rusa 4  is  the  least  valued.  From 
a  note  made  in  1890  these  are  the  lowest  prices  they 
fetch — Gusi  tuak,  <$'iooo  ;   Gusi  bulan,  $700  ;  Gusi  chenda- 

1  The  Sea-Dayaks  say  that  they  were  constructed  by  the  gods  when  they  made  the 
*ky,  out  of  a  small  surplus  of  the  blue. 

2  St.  John,  op.  cit. ,  mentions  that  the  late  Sultan  Mumin  of  Bruni  had  an  ancient 
jar  which  was  reputed  to  be  able  to  speak,  and  that  it  moaned  sorrowfully  the  night 
lx:fore  his  first  wife  died.      He  refused  ^2000  for  it. 

fa,  a  dragon  ;   benaga,  having  a  dragon. 
4   Meaning  a  deer  in  Malay  and  Sea-Davak. 


SEA-DAYAK   GIRL. 


BORNEO  27 

num,  'S'500  ;  Galagiau,  $400;  Lingka,  6*310;  Rusa,  6*150, 
In  1890  Sy  =£1.  These  jars  are  all  brown  in  colour.  The 
Dayaks  and  Kayans  possess  a  few  fine  blue  and  white,  and 
pink  and  white,  old  Chinese  jars,  some  over  five  feet  in 
height. 

About  forty  years  ago  an  enterprising  Chinese  petty 
dealer  took  samples  of  the  jars  to  China  and  had  clever 
imitations  made.  He  realised  a  large  sum  by  the  sale,  and 
started  as  a  merchant  on  a  large  scale,  grew  rich,  waxed  fat, 
and  became  the  leading  and  wealthiest  Chinese  merchant 
in  Kuching.  The  Malays  are  clever  in  "  faking "  jars, 
especially  such  as  are  cracked,  but  the  Dayaks  are  not  now 
to  be  deceived  by  them. 

The  Dayak  village,  like  those  of  all  interior  tribes,  is  a 
communal  establishment.  It  does  not  consist  of  separate 
huts  occupied  by  any  one  family,  but  of  large  common  halls 
on  platforms,  sometimes  800  ft.  long,  upon  which  the  dwell- 
ing-rooms abut.  They  are  constructed  of  wood,  and  are 
supported  on  poles  sometimes  20  ft.  to  40  ft.  above  the 
ground,  the  poles  being  from  6  to  1 8  inches  in  diameter. 
The  largest  will  contain  some  300  people.  The  following  is 
a  description  of  the  Dayak  village  ol  Tunggang  from  the 
late  Rajah's  journal  : — 

Tunyang1  stands  on  the  left  hand  (going  up)  close  to  the 
margin  of  the  stream,  and  was  enclosed  by  a  slight  stockade. 
Within  this  defence  there  was  one  enormous  house  for  the  whole 
population.  The  exterior  of  the  defence  between  it  and  the  river 
was  occupied  by  sheds  for  prahus  (boats),  and  at  each  extremity 
were  one  or  two  houses  belonging  to  Malay  residents. 

The  common  habitation,  as  rude  as  it  is  enormous,  measures 
594  ft.  in  length,  and  the  front  room  or  street  is  the  entire  length 
of  the  building,  and  2 1  feet  broad.  The  back  part  is  divided  by 
mat  partitions  into  the  private  apartments  of  the  various  families, 
and  of  these  there  are  forty-five  separate  doors  leading  from  the 
public  apartment.  The  widowers  and  the  young  unmarried  men 
occupy  the  public  room,  as  only  those  with  wives  are  entitled  to 
the  advantage  of  a  separate  room.  The  floor  of  the  edifice  is  raised 
twelve  feet  from  the  ground,  and  the  means  of  ascent  is  by  the  trunk 
of  a  tree  with  notches  cut  in  it — a  most  difficult,  steep,  and  awkward 
ladder.      In  front  is  a  terrace  fifty  feet  broad,  running  partially  along 

1  A  misprint  for  "Tunggang." 


28  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  front  of  the  building,  formed  like  the  floors,  of  split  bamboo. 
This  platform,  as  well  as  the  front  room,  besides  the  regular  in- 
habitants, is  the  resort  of  dogs,  birds,  monkeys,  and  fowls,  and 
presents  a  glorious  scene  of  confusion  and  bustle.  Here  the 
ordinary  occupations  of  domestic  labour  are  carried  on.  There 
were  200  men,  women,  and  children  counted  in  the  room,  and  in 
front,  whilst  we  were  there  in  the  middle  of  the  day ;  and  allowing 
for  those  who  were  abroad,  or  then  in  their  own  rooms,  the  whole 
community  cannot  be  reckoned  at  less  than  400  souls.  The  apart- 
ment of  their  chief  is  situated  nearly  in  the  centre  of  the  building, 
and  is  larger  than  any  other.  In  front  of  it  nice  mats  were  spread 
on  the  occasion  of  our  visit,  whilst  over  our  heads  dangled  about 
thirty  ghastly  skulls,  according  to  the  custom  of  these  people. 

The  Malay  is  the  latest  immigrant.  He  is  of  mixed 
breed,  and  the  link  that  holds  the  Malays  together  is  religion, 
for  they  are  Muhammedans,  whereas  the  Kayans,  Land  and 
Sea-Dayaks,  and  other  tribes,  are  pagans.  To  accept  their 
own  traditions,  the  Bruni  Malays  came  from  Johore,  whereas 
the  Sarawak  Malays,  like  those  of  the  Malay  peninsula,  came 
direct  from  the  ancient  kingdom  of  Menangkabau.  Between 
them  there  is  a  very  marked  difference  in  language,  character, 
and  appearance.  Whence  the  proto-Malay  stock  came  is 
a  moot  point,  but  it  may  be  of  Mongolian  origin,  subse- 
quently blended  with  many  other  distinct  ethnic  types,  such 
as  the  Arab  and  Hindu,  and  in  the  case  of  the  Bornean 
Malay  with  the  Indonesian  peoples  of  their  and  the  neigh- 
bouring islands.  The  Malays  form  the  main  population  of 
Kuching,  the  capital,  and  of  the  towns  Sadong,  Simanggang, 
Kalaka,  and  Sibu.  They  have  villages  on  the  Lundu,  Saribas, 
and  lower  Rejang,  are  scattered  along  the  coast  between 
Capes  Datu  and  Sirik,  and  are  to  be  found  in  the  principal 
settlements  beyond.  The  Malay  has  been  very  variously 
judged.  The  Malay  Pangiran,  or  noble,  was  rapacious, 
cruel,  and  often  cowardly.  But  he  had  a  grace  of  manner, 
a  courtesy,  and  hospitality  that  were  pleasing  as  a  varnish. 
The  evil  repute  that  the  Malay  has  acquired  has  been  due 
to  his  possession  of  power,  and  to  his  unscrupulous  use  of  it 
to  oppress  the  aboriginal  races.  But  the  Malay  out  of 
power  is  by  no  means  an  objectionable  character.  Sir 
James  Brooke,  the  first  Rajah,  thus  paints  him  : — 


BORNEO  29 

The  feeling  of  the  Malay  fostered  by  education  is  acute,  and 
his  passions  are  roused  if  shame  be  put  upon  him  ;  indeed  the  dread 
of  shame  amounts  to  a  disease,  and  the  evil  is  that  it  has  taken  a 
wrong  direction,  being  more  the  dread  of  exposure  or  abuse,  than 
shame  or  contrition  for  any  offence.  Like  other  Asiatics  truth  is 
a  rare  quality  among  them,  and  they  have  neither  principle  nor 
conscience  when  they  have  the  means  of  oppressing  an  infidel. 

They  are  thus  depicted  by  Mr.  Horace  St.  John  in  a 
work  somewhat  ambitiously  entitled,  The  Indian  Archipelago, 
its  History  and  present  State,  vol.  ii.  p.  267  (published  1853). 

Under  the  heading  "  Malays,"  we  find  the  following  : — 

The  Malays  are  Mahomedans,  living  under  the  rule  of  the 
Prophet's  descendants,  a  mongrel  race  of  tyrants,  gamblers,  opium- 
smokers,  pirates,  and  chiefs,  who  divide  their  time  between  cock- 
fighting,  smoking,  concubines,  and  collecting  taxes. 

That  Mr.  Horace  St.  John  had  never  been  in  the 
Archipelago  to  which  his  history  relates,  was  doubtless  a 
matter  of  little  consequence  to  many  of  his  home-staying 
contemporaries.  Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  brother  to  the 
author  of  the  above-quoted  Indian  Archipelago,  etc.,  who 
certainly  wrote  from  a  long  personal  experience  of  the 
people  and  country,  offers  us  in  his  Forests  of  the  Far  East 
an  opinion  on  the  character  and  conduct  of  the  Malay  from 
which  every  one  who  has  lived  amongst  these  people  will  find 
no  important  cause  to  differ.      Sir  Spenser  writes  : — 

The  Malays  are  faithful  to  their  relatives  and  devotedly 
attached  to  their  children.  Remarkably  free  from  crimes,  and 
when  they  are  committed  they  generally  arise  from  jealousy.  Brave 
when  well  led,  they  inspire  confidence  in  their  commanders  ;  they 
are  highly  sensitive  to  dishonour,  and  tenacious  as  regards  their 
conduct  towards  each  other,  and  being  remarkably  polite  in  manner, 
they  render  agreeable  all  intercourse  with  them.  Malays  are 
generally  accused  of  great  idleness,  and  in  some  sense  they  deserve 
it ;  they  do  not  like  continuous  work,  but  they  do  enough  to 
support  themselves  and  families  in  comfort,  and  real  poverty  is 
unknown  among  them. 

The  author  here  refers  to  the  Malays  of  Sarawak. 

Sir  W.  H.  Treacher,1   who  knows  the  Malay  intimately, 

1  Late  Resident-General  of  the  Federated  Malay  States. 


3o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

paints  him   in   favourable  colours,  now  that  he  is  restrained 
from  tyrannising  over  the  weak.      He  says  : — 

I  am  frequently  asked  if  treachery  is  not  one  of  their 
characteristics,  and  I  unhesitatingly  answer  No.  This  particular 
misconception  was  probably  initiated  by  the  original  merchant- 
adventurers,  and  we  can  imagine  what  a  reception  a  body  of 
strange,  uninvited,  white  infidels  would  receive  at  the  hands  of 
Mahomedan  Malays,  whose  system  of  warfare,  taking  its  rise  from 
the  nature  of  the  thickly  jungle-covered  country  they  inhabit,  is 
adapted  more  for  ambuscade  than  for  fighting  at  close  quarters. 
Add  to  that,  being  Mahomedans,  they  were  by  their  religion 
justified  in  indulging  in  piracy  and  murder  where  the  victims 
were  infidels.  The  Malay  is  possessed  of  at  least  as  much  passive 
courage  as  the  average  Englishman,  and  is  probably  less  troubled 
by  the  fear  of  death  and  the  hereafter  than  many  Christians. 

On  the  other  hand  I  must  admit  that  the  Malay,  owing  to  his 
environment — the  balmy  climate  making  no  severe  calls  upon  him 
in  the  matters  either  of  food,  artificial  warmth,  or  clothing,  has  not 
the  bustling  energy  of  the  white  man,  nor  the  greed  for  amassing 
wealth  of  the  Chinaman,  nor  does  he  believe  in  putting  forth 
unnecessary  energy  for  a  problematical  gain  ;  he  is  like  the  English 
tramp  who  was  always  willing — that  is,  to  look  on  at  other  people 
working,  or  like  that  one  who  complained  that  he  was  an  unfor- 
tunate medium,  too  light  for  heavy  work,  and  too  heavy  for  light 
work. 

The  natural  savagery  of  the  Malay  continually  threatens 
to  break  out,  and  not  infrequently  does  so  in  the  form  of 
the  amok  (running  amuck),  the  national  Malay  method  of 
committing  suicide. 

Apart  from  this  tendency,  when  under  control  the 
Malay  character  has  much  in  common  with  the  Mongol, 
being,  under  ordinary  circumstances,  gentle,  peaceable, 
obedient,  and  loyal,  but  at  the  same  time  proud  and 
sensitive,  and  with  strangers  suspicious  and  reserved. 

The  Malays  can  be  faithful  and  trustworthy,  and  they 
are  active  and  clever.  Serious  crime  among  them  is  not 
common  now,  nor  is  thieving.  They  have  a  bad  propensity 
of  running  into  debt,  and  obtaining  advances  under 
engagements  which  they  never  fulfil.  They  make  good 
servants  and  valuable  policemen.  All  the  Government 
steamers  are  officered   and   manned  throughout  by  Malays, 


BORNEO  31 

and  none  could  desire  to  have  better  crews.  They  are  the 
principal  fishermen  and  woodsmen.  Morality  is  perhaps 
not  a  strong  point  with  them,  but  drinking  is  exceptional, 
and  gambling  is  not  as  prevalent  as  it  was,  nor  do  they 
indulge  in  opium  smoking. 

With  regard  to  the  Chinaman,  it  will  be  well  to  let  the 
present  Rajah  speak  from  his  own  experience.  He  says 
that — 

John  Chinaman  as  a  race  are  an  excellent  set  of  fellows,  and 
a  poor  show  would  these  Eastern  countries  make  without  their 
energetic  presence.  They  combine  many  good,  many  dangerous, 
and  it  must  be  admitted,  many  bad  qualities.  They  are  given 
to  be  overbearing  and  insolent  (unless  severely  kept  down)  nearly 
to  as  great  a  degree  as  Europeans  of  the  rougher  classes.  They 
will  cheat  their  neighbours  and  resort  to  all  manner  of  deception 
on  principle.  But  their  redeeming  qualities  are  comparative  charit- 
ableness and  liberality ;  a  fondness  for  improvements  ;  and,  except 
in  small  mercantile  affairs  or  minor  trading  transactions,  they  are 
honest. 

They,  in  a  few  words,  possess  the  wherewithal  to  be  good 
fellows,  and  are  more  fit  to  be  compared  to  Europeans  than  any 
other  race  of  Easterns. 

They  have  been  excluded  as  much  as  possible  from  gaining  a 
footing  in  Batavia,1  under  the  plea  of  their  dangerous  and  usurious 
pursuits  ;  but  the  probability  is  that  they  would  have  raised  an 
unpleasant  antagonism  in  the  question  of  competition  in  that 
country.  The  Chinaman  would  be  equal  to  the  Master,  or  White 
Man,  if  both  worked  fairly  by  the  sweat  of  his  brow.  As  for  their 
usury,  it  is  not  of  so  dangerous  a  character  as  that  which  prevails 
among  the  Javanese  and  the  natives. 

Upon  my  first  arrival  I  was  strongly  possessed  by  the  opinion 
that  the  Chinamen  were  all  rascals  and  thieves — the  character  so 
generally  attached  to  the  whole  race  at  home.  But  to  be  candid, 
and  looking  at  both  sides,  I  would  as  soon  deal  with  a  Chinese 
merchant  in  the  East  as  with  one  who  is  European,  and  I  believe 
the  respectable  class  of  Chinese  to  be  equal  in  honesty  and  integrity 
to  the  white  man. 

The  Chinese  may  be  nearly  as  troublesome  a  people  to 
govern  as  Europeans,  certainly  not  more  so ;  and  their  good 
qualities,  in  which  they  are  not  deficient,  should  be  cherished  and 
stimulated,  while  their  bad  ones  are  regulated  by  the  discipline 
of  the  law  under  a  just  and  liberal  government.     They  are  a  people 

1  This  was  written  in  1866. 


32  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

specially  amenable  to  justice,  and  are   happier    under  a  stringent 
than  a  lenient  system. 

Of  the  Chinese  the  Sarawak  Gazette  (November  I,  1897) 
says  : — 

The  characteristics  of  this  extraordinary  people  must  at  once 
strike  the  minds  of  the  most  superficial  of  European  residents  in  the 
East.  Their  wonderful  energy  and  capacity  for  work  ;  their  power 
of  accumulating  wealth  :  their  peculiar  physical  powers,  which  render 
them  equally  fertile,  and  their  children  equally  vivacious,  on  the 
equator  as  in  more  temperate  regions,  and  which  enable  them  to  rear 
a  new  race  of  natives  under  climatic  conditions  entirely  different  from 
those  under  which  their  forefathers  were  born,  are  facts  with  which 
we  are  all  acquainted.  Their  mental  endowments,  too,  are  by  no 
means  to  be  despised,  as  nearly  every  year  shows  us,  when  the 
results  of  the  examination  for  the  Queen's  Scholarship  of  the 
Straits  Settlements  are  published,  and  some  young  Chinese  boy 
departs  for  England  to  enter  into  educational  competition  with  his 
European  fellows. 

Chinese  get  on  well  with  all  natives,  with  whom  they 
intermarry,  the  mixed  offspring  being  a  healthy  and  good- 
looking  type.  They  form  the  merchant,  trading,  and  artisan 
classes,  and  they  are  the  only  agriculturists  and  mine 
labourers  of  any  worth.  Without  these  people  a  tropical 
country  would  remain  unaeveloped. 

The  only  census  that  appears  to  have  been  attempted  in 
Sarawak  was  taken  in  1871.  Judging  by  the  report  that 
was  published  in  the  Gazette  this  census  was  made  in  a  very 
imperfect  manner.1  Of  the  interior  population  it  includes 
Sea-Dayaks,  but  no  means  were  obtainable  for  ascertain- 
ing the  numbers  of  Kayans,  Kenyahs,  and  many  other 
tribes  that  go  to  make  up  the  population  of  the  State. 
It  makes  no  separate  mention  of  the  large  coast  popula- 
tion of  the  Melanaus,  who  were  presumably  lumped  with  the 
Malays. 

The  census  gives  the  following  figures  : — 

1    Vmongst  Eastern  people  any  attempts  to  make  a  systematic  census  is  liable  to 
In-  misapprehended,  and  to  give  rise  t<>  a  had  feeling,  and  even  to  dangerous  s> 
and  tor  tli.u  reason  ii"  c<  nsus  has  been  made  by  the  Government.      This  census  was 
an  approximation  based  upon  the  amount   paid   in   direct   taxation,  such  as  head  and 
door  taxes,  allowing  an  average  of  so  many  people  to  a  family 


BORNEO 

Malays 

52»519 

Dayaks 

70,849 

Chinese 

4,947 

Indians 

364 

128,679 

Allowed  for 

evasions  and  omissions 

IO 

per 

cent 

12,867 

Total  141,546 

The  report  concedes  it  was  the  generally  received 
opinion  that  the  population  was  nearer  200,000,  and  if  we 
include  the  Kayans,  Kenyahs,  etc.,  and  accept  the  approxi- 
mate correctness  of  the  above  figures,  that  estimate  would  be 
about  correct. 

In  1 87  1,  the  State  extended  as  far  as  Kedurong  Point 
only,  but  since  that  the  territorial  area  has  been  nearly 
doubled.  The  population  is  now  estimated  at  500,000, 
though  this  is  probably  too  liberal  a  calculation,  and  the 
following  is  a  fairer  estimate  : — 

Coast  population,  Malays  and  Melanaus       .  100,000 

Interior    population,     Land    and     Sea  -  Dayaks, 

Kayans  and  Kenyahs  .  .  .  250,000 

Interior  population  other  than  these    .  .  18,000 

Chinese  population    .....  45,°°° 

Indians,  Javanese,  Bugis,  etc.      .  .  .  3>°°° 

416,000 

The  names  by  which  the  various  tribes  are  known  are 
those  given  to  them  by  others,  mostly  by  the  coast  people, 
or  are  taken  from  the  name  of  the  river  on  which  they  reside, 
or  from  which  they  came.  Daya  (as  it  should  be  spelt,  and 
as  it  is  pronounced)  in  the  Melanau  and  Bruni  Malay  dialect 
means  "  land,"  "  in-land."  So  we  have  Orang  daya,  an  in- 
lander. Ka-daya-au  is  contracted  into  Kayan  ;  Ukit  and 
Bukitan  are  from  the  Malay  word  bukit — a  hill  ;  and  tan- 
Jong  is  the  Malay  for  a  cape  or  a  point  round  which  a  river 
sweeps.  Hence  Orang  Ukit  or  Bukitan,  a  hill-man,1  and 
Orang  Tanjong,  riverside  people. 

1  And  so  Orang- Murut means  a  hill-man,  mttrut,  or  more  correctly  murud,  mean- 
ing a  hill — bulud  in  Suite. 

D 


34  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

As  in  ancient  Germany  the  districts  were  known  by  the 
names  of  the  rivers  that  watered  them,  and  each  was  agau,  so 
it  is  in  Borneo,  where  the  rivers  are  the  roads  of  communica- 
tion, and  give  their  names  to  the  districts  and  to  the  people 
that  inhabit  them.  Indeed,  in  Borneo  one  can  see  precisely 
at  this  day  what  was  the  ancient  Gan-verfassung  in  the 
German  Empire. 

The  area  of  Sarawak  is  about  50,000  square  miles,  and 
the  coast  line  about  500  miles. 

The  climate  is  hot  and  humid  ;  it  is  especially  moist 
during  the  X.E.  monsoon,  and  less  so  during  the  S.W. 
monsoon.  The  former  commences  and  the  latter  ends  some- 
times early  and  sometimes  late  in  October,  and  in  April  the 
seasons  again  change.  The  months  of  most  rain  are 
December,  January,  and  February  ;  from  February  the  rain- 
fall decreases  until  July,  the  month  of  least  rain,  and 
increases  gradually  after  that  month.  The  average  yearly 
rainfall  is  160  inches.  The  maximum  in  any  one  year, 
225.95  inches,  was  recorded  in  1SS2,  and  the  minimum 
102.4  in  18S8.  The  heaviest  rainfall  for  one  month,  69.25 
inches,  occurred  in  January,  1881,  and  the  least,  .66  inches, 
in  August,  1877.  The  most  in  one  day  was  15.3  inches  on 
February  8,  1876.  Rain  falls  on  an  average  226  days  in 
the  year.  These  notes  are  taken  from  observations  made  in 
Kuching  extending  over  thirty  years.1  At  Sibu,  the  average 
rainfall  for  five  years  was  116  inches,  at  Baram  92  inches, 
and  at  Trusan  167  inches.  Except  in  the  sun  at  mid-day 
and  during  the  early  hours  of  the  afternoon  the  heat  is  hardly 
ever  oppressive,  and  the  mornings,  evenings  and  nights  arc 
generally  cool.  In  1906,  the  maximum  average  tempera- 
ture was  91  .6,  and  the  minimum  71  .2  Fahrenheit;  the 
highest  reading  was  94  in  May,  and  the  lowest  69  .6  in 
July.2 

In  few  countries  are  thunderstorms  more  severe  than  in 
Borneo,  but  deaths  from  lightning  are  not  very  common,  and 
hail  falls  so  rarely  that  when  it  does  fall  it  is  an  awe-inspiring 
object   to  some  natives.      Archdeacon  Perham    records   that 

1  Mr.   I.  Hewitt,  B.A.,  Curator  of  the  Sarawak  Museum  in  th< 
February  2,  1906. 

2  Kuching  Observatory. 


BORNEO 


35 


during  a  very  severe  hailstorm  in  1874  some  Dayaks  col- 
lected the  hailstones  under  the  impression  that  they  were 
rare  charms,  whilst  others  fled  from  their  house,  believing  that 
everybody  and  everything  in  it  would  be  turned  into  a 
petrified  rock,  a  woeful  monument  to  future  generations.  To 
avert  this  catastrophe  they  boiled  the  hailstones  and  burnt 
locks  of  their  hair.1 

1  The  Sarawak  Gazette. 


SATANG    ISLANDS,    DATU    BAY. 


FROM    MERCATOR  S    MAP. 


CHAPTER   II 

EARLY    HISTORY 


ORNEO  was  known 
to  the  Arabs  many 
centuries  ago,  and 
Sinbad  the  Sailor 
was  fabled  to  have 
visited  the  island.  It 
was  then  imagined 
that  a  ship  might  be 
freighted  there  with 
pearls,  gold,  camphor, 
gums,  perfumed  oils, 
spices,  and  gems,  and 
this  was  not  far  from  the 
truth. 

When    Genghis    Khan 
conquered        China,       and 
founded  his  mighty  Mogul 
Empire  (1206-27),  it  is  possible  that 
he  extended    his    rule   over    Borneo, 
where   Chinese    had    already   settled. 
Kublai  Khan  is  said  to  have  invaded 
Borneo  with  a   large   force  in   1292  ; 
J6 


EARLY   HISTORY  37 

and  that  a  Chinese  province  was  subsequently  established  in 
northern  Borneo,  in  which  the  Sulu  islands  were  included, 
is  evidenced  by  Bruni  and  Sulu  traditions.  The  Celestials 
have  left  their  traces  in  the  name  of  Kina  Balu  (the  Chinese 
Widow)  given  to  the  noble  peak  in  the  north  of  the  island,1 
and  of  the  rivers  Kina-batangan  (the  Chinese  river)  and 
Kina-bangun  on  the  east  coast  of  Borneo,  and  certain  jars, 
mentioned  in  chapter  I.  p.  26,  ornamented  with  the  royal 
dragon  of  China,  are  treasured  as  heirlooms  by  the  Dayaks. 
At  Santubong,  at  the  mouth  of  the  Sarawak  river,  Chinese 
coins  dating  back  to  B.C.  600  and  112,  and  from  A.D.  588 
and  onwards,  have  been  found,  with  many  fragments  of 
Chinese  pottery.  The  name  Santubong  is  itself  Chinese, 
San-tu-bong,  meaning  the  "King  of  the  Jungle"  in  the 
Kheh  dialect,  and  the  "  Mountain  of  wild  pig  "  in  the  Hokien 
dialect. 

Besides  the  antique  jars,  the  art  of  making  which 
appears  to  have  been  lost,  further  evidence  of  an  ancient 
Chinese  trade  may  be  found  in  the  old  and  peculiar  beads 
so  treasured  by  the  Kayans  and  Kenyahs.  These  are 
generally  supposed  to  be  Venetian,  and  to  have  been  intro- 
duced by  the  Portuguese.  Beccari  (op.  cit.  p.  263)  mentions 
that  he  had  heard  or  read  that  the  Malay  word  for  a  bead, 
manit  (pronounced  mancef),  was  a  corruption  of  the  Italian 
word  moneta  (money),  which  was  used  for  glass  beads  at  the 
time  when  the  Venetians  were  the  foremost  traders  in  the 
world.  But  he  points  out  "  that  the  Venetians  made  their 
beads  in  imitation  of  the  Chinese,  who  it  appears  had  used 
them  from  the  remotest  times  in  their  commercial  transac- 
tions with  the  less  civilized  tribes  of  Southern  Asia  and  the 
Malay  islands."  And  it  was  by  the  Chinese  these  beads  were 
probably  introduced  into  Borneo  ;  manit  is  but  the  Sanskrit 
word  tnani,  meaning  a  bead." 

1  Named  by  the  Spaniards  Mount  St.  Paul  according  to  Pigafetta.  J.  Hunt  gives 
St.  Peter's  Mount  in  his  Sketch  of  Borneo,  1812,  and  a  map  by  Mercator  published  in 
about  1595  gives  St.  Pedro,  and  old  maps  of  subsequent  dates  also  give  the  latter  name. 

2  But  Mr.  C.  Vernon-Collins,  of  the  Sarawak  Civil  Service,  recently  found  a 
bead  which  has  been  pronounced  at  the  British  Museum  to  have  been  made  in  Venice 
prior  to  A.D.  1100.  A  similar  one  of  the  same  date  was  presented  by  H.H.  the 
Ranee  to  the  British  Museum  some  years  ago.  It  is  a  bead  highly  esteemed  by  the 
K  a  vans. 


38  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

From  the  Kina-batangan  river  came  the  Chinese  wife  of 
Akhmed,  the  second  Sultan  of  Bruni.  She  was  the  daughter 
of  Ong  Sum  Ping,  a  Chinese  envoy,  and  from  her  and  Sultan 
Akhmed  the  Bruni  sultans  down  to  the  present  day,  and 
for  over  twenty  generations,  trace  their  descent  on  the  distaff 
side,  for  their  daughter  married  the  Arab  Sherip  Ali,  who 
became  Sultan  in  succession  to  his  father-in-law,  and  they 
were  the  founders  of  the  present  dynasty.1  Sulu  chronicles 
contain  the  same  legend  ;  and  according  to  these  Ong  Sum 
Ping,  or  Ong  Ti  Ping,  settled  in  the  Kina-batangan  A.D. 
1375.  He  was  probably  a  governor  in  succession  to 
others. 

The  Hindu-Javan  empire  of  Majapahit  in  Java  certainly 
extended  over  Borneo,  but  it  left  there  no  such  stately- 
temples  and  palaces  as  those  that  remain  in  Java,  and  the 
only  reminiscences  of  the  Hindu  presence  in  Sarawak  are 
the  name  of  a  god,  Jewata,'2  which  lingers  among  the  Dayaks, 
a  mutilated  stone  bull,  two  carved  stones  like  the  lingams 
of  the  Hindus  ;  and  at  Santubong,  on  a  large  immovable  rock 
situated  up  a  small  stream,  is  a  rudely  carved  statue  of  a 
human  figure  nearly  life-size,  with  outstretched  arms,  lying 
flat,  face  downwards,  in  an  uncouth  position,  perhaps  com- 
memorative of  some  crime.3 

Santubong  is  at  the  eastern  mouth  of  the  Sarawak  river, 
and  is  prettily  situated  just  inside  the  entrance,  and  at  the 
foot  of  the  isolated  peak  bearing  the  same  name,  which  rises 
boldly  out  of  the  sea  to  a  height  of  some  3000  feet.  This 
place,  which  apparently  was  once  a  Chinese,  and  then  a 
Hindu-Javan  colony,  is  now  a  small  fishing  hamlet  only, 
with  a  few  European  bungalows,  being  the  sea-side  resort  of 
Kuching  ;  close  by  are  large  cutch  works.  In  ancient  days, 
judging  by  the  large  quantity  of  slag  that  is  to  be  seen  here, 
iron  must  have  been  extensively  mined. 

1  "  Hook  of  the  Descent,''  Sir  Hugh  Low. — Journal  of  the  Straits  Branch  of  the 
X.A.S.,  Xo.  5. 

-  Jewata  is  the  Land-Dayak  name  of  a  god  from  the  Sanskrit  word  dewata 
divinity,  deity,  gods.  The  Sea-Dvaks  also  have  Jewata  in  their  mythology,  likewise 
Batara,  from  the  Sanskrit  bhatar,  holy  ;  neither  means  God,  as  some  writers  appear 
to  think.      The  Dayaks  have  no  idea  of  theism. 

3  The  late  Rajah  has  recorded  a  tradition  of  several  of  the  Land-Dyak  tribes  that 
in  the  old  times  they  were  under  the  government  of  Java,  and  their  tribute  was 
regularly  sent  there. 


EARLY   HISTORY 


39 


Recently  some  ancient  and  massive  gold  ornaments, 
seal  rings,  necklets,  etc.,  were  exposed  by  a  landslip  at  the 
Limbang  station,  which  have  been  pronounced  to  be  of 
Hindu  origin  ;  and  ancient  Hindu  gold  ornaments  have 
been  found  at  Santubong  and  up  the  Sarawak  river. 

Bruni  had  been  a  powerful  kingdom,  and  had  conquered 
Luzon  and  the  Sulu  islands  before  it  became  a  dependency 
of  Majapahit,  but  at  the  time  of  the  death  of  the  last  Batara  1 


FIGURE    OX    ROCK — SAXTUBONG. 


of  that  kingdom,  Bruni  ceased  to  send  tribute.  The  empire 
of  Majapahit  fell  in  1478  2  before  the  Mussulman  Malays. 
The  origin  of  the  Malays  is  shrouded  in  obscurity  ;  they  are 
first  heard  of  in  Sumatra,  in  Menangkabau,3  from  whence 
they  emigrated  in  A.D.  11 60  to  Singapura,  "the  Lion  city." 
They  were  attacked  and  expelled  in  1252  by  the  princes 
of  Majapahit,  when  they  settled  in  Malacca.  There  they 
throve,  and  embraced  the  religion  of  Islam  in   1276. 

1  The  title  assumed  by  the  rulers  of  Majapahit,  from  "  Bhatara,"  noted  above. 

2  According  to  Crawfurd.      Sir  Stamford  Raffles  gives  1475. 

3  Formerly  a  monarchy  whose  jurisdiction  comprehended  all  Sumatra,  and  whose 
sovereign  was  talked  of  with  respect  in  the  farthest  parts  of  the  East. — Marsden's 
History  of  Sumatra. 


4o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

From  Sumatra  and  the  Malay  peninsula  the  Malays 
continued  to  spread,  and  gradually  to  establish  sultanates 
and  states  under  them.  The  process  by  which  this  was 
effected  was  seldom  by  conquest,  but  by  the  peaceful 
immigration  of  a  few  families  who  settled  on  some 
unoccupied  part  of  the  coast  within  the  mouth  of  a  river. 
Then,  in  the  course  of  time,  they  increased  and  spread  to 
neighbouring  rivers,  and  formed  a  state.  By  subjecting  the 
aboriginal  tribes  of  the  interior,  and  by  compulsion  or  con- 
sent, including  weaker  Malayan  states  of  like  origin,  by 
degrees  some  of  these  states  expanded  into  powerful 
sultanates  with  feudal  princes  under  them. 

So  the  Malayan  kingdoms  arose  and  gained  power  ;  and 
strengthened  by  the  spirit  of  cohesion  which  their  religion 
gave  them,  they  finally  overthrew  the  Hindu-Javan  empire 
of  Majapahit. 

In  Borneo  there  were  sultans  at  Bruni,  Sambas, 
Banjermasin,  Koti,  Belungan,  Pasir,  Tanjong,  Berau,  and 
Pontianak,  and  other  small  states  under  pangirans  and 
sherips. 

Exaggerated  accounts  of  the  "  sweet  riches  of  Borneo" 
had  led  the  early  Portuguese,  Dutch,  and  English  voyagers  to 
regard  the  island,  the  Insula  Bona;  Fortunas  of  Ptolemy,  as 
the  El  dorado  of  the  Eastern  Archipelago  ;  but  these  in  turn 
found  out  their  error,  and,  directing  their  attention  to  the 
more  profitable  islands  in  its  neighbourhood,  almost  forsook 
Borneo  until  later  years. 

The  Spaniards  appear  to  have  been  the  first  Europeans 
to  visit  the  island,  as  they  were  the  first  to  make  the  voyage 
round  the  world,  and  to  find  the  way  to  the  Archipelago  from 
the  east,  a  feat  which  caused  the  Portuguese  much  un- 
easiness. They  touched  at  Bruni  in  I  52  1,  and  Pigafetta  says 
that  there  were  then  25,000  families  in  the  city,  which  on  a 
low  computation  would  give  the  population  at  100,000  ;  and 
he  gives  a  glowing  account  of  its  prosperity.  The  Portuguese, 
under  the  infamous  Jorge  de  Menezes,  followed  in  1  526,  and 
they  were  there  again  in  1  530.  They  confirm  Pigafetta  as  to 
the  flourishing  condition  of  the  place.  From  1 5  30  the 
Portuguese  kept   up  a  regular   intercourse  with   Bruni  from 


EARLY   HISTORY  41 

Malacca,  which  the  great  Alfonso  d'Albuquerque  had 
conquered  in  151  I,  until  they  were  expelled  from  that 
place  by  the  Dutch  in  1641.  Then  they  diverted  the  trade, 
which  was  chiefly  in  pepper,  to  their  settlement  at  Macao, 
where  they  had  placed  a  Factory  in  1557,  and  from  whence 
a  Roman  Catholic  mission  was  established  at  Bruni  by  Fr. 
Antonio  di  Ventimiglia,  who  died  there  in  169 1.  It  seems 
certain  they  had  a  Factory  at  Bruni,  probably  for  a  short 
time  only,  in  the  seventeenth  century,  though  it  is  impossible 
now  to  do  more  than  conjecture  the  date  ;  but  that  they 
continued  their  trade  with  Bruni  up  to  the  close  of  the 
eighteenth  century  appears  to  be  without  doubt ;  and  also 
that  they  had  a  Factory  at  Sambas  out  of  which  they  were 
driven  by  the  Dutch  in  1609.  On  Mercator's  map,  alluded 
to  in  the  first  footnote  of  this  chapter,  are  the  words 
"  Lave  donde  foy"  Don  Manuel  de  Lima,"  or  Lave  where 
Don  Manuel  of  Lima  1  resided.  Lave  is  Mempawa,  some- 
times spelt  Mempava  in  recent  English  maps,  a  place 
between  Sambas  and  Pontianak  —  so  the  Portuguese 
were  even  farther  south  than  Sambas  in  the  sixteenth 
century. 

In  1565,  the  Spanish  took  possession  of  the  Philippines, 
conquered  Manila  in  1  571,  and,  five  years  later,  according  to 
both  Spanish  and  Bruni  records,  were  taking  an  active 
interest  in  Bruni  affairs,  which,  however,  does  not  appear  to 
have  lasted  for  long.  In  1576,  Saif  ul  Rejal  was  Sultan. 
In  the  Bruni  records  2  it  is  stated  that  a  noble  named  Buong 
Manis,  whose  title  was  Pangiran  Sri  Lela  (Sirela  in  the 
Spanish  records),  was  goaded  into  rebellion  by  the  Sultan's 
brother,  Rajah  Sakam,  by  the  abduction  of  his  daughter  on 
the  day  of  her  wedding.  To  gain  a  footing  in  Bruni  the 
Spaniards  took  advantage  of  this,  and  Don  Francisco  La 
Sande,  the  second  Governor  of  the  Philippines,  conquered 
Bruni,  and  set  Sri  Lela  on  the  throne.  Four  years  later  the 
Spaniards  again  had  occasion  to  support  their prottgi  with  an 
armed  force  ;  but  it  ended  in  the  rightful  Sultan  being 
restored  through  the  efforts  of  the  Rajah  Sakam,  aided  by  a 

1  Lima  is  a  small  town  on  the  north  coast  of  Portugal. 
2  Sir  Hugh  Low,  Book  of  the  Descent,  op.  cit. 


42  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

Portuguese,  who  had  become  a  Bruni  pangiran,1  and  the 
usurper  taking  refuge  in  the  Belait,  where  he  was  slain.  To 
close  the  history,  so  far  as  it  is  known  to  us,  of  the  Spanish 
connection  with  Bruni,  in  1645,  in  retaliation  for  piracies 
committed  on  the  coasts  of  their  colonies,  the  Spanish  sent 
an  expeditionary  force  to  punish  Bruni,  which  it  appears  was 
very  effectually  done. 

The  first  Dutchman  to  visit  Bruni  was  Olivier  Van  Noort, 
in  1600.  He  seems  to  have  been  impressed  by  the  polite- 
ness and  civility  of  the  Bruni  nobles,  but,  fortunately  for  him- 
self, not  to  the  extent  of  trusting  them  too  much,  for  treachery 
was  attempted.  Nine  years  later,  as  we  have  noticed,  the 
Portuguese  had  to  make  room  for  the  Dutch  at  Sambas,  and 
here  the  latter  established  a  Factory,  which  was,  however, 
abandoned  in  1623.  Tney  returned  to  this  part  of  Borneo 
in  1778,  and  established  Factories  at  Pontianak,  Landak, 
Mempawa,  and  Sukadana,  but  these  proving  unprofitable  were 
abandoned  in  1791.  In  181  8,  an  armed  force  was  sent  to 
re-establish  these  Factories,  two  years  after  Java  had  been 
restored  to  Holland  by  England,  and  from  these,  including 
Sambas,  the  Dutch  Residency  of  Western  Borneo  has 
arisen. 

A  certain  Captain  Cowley  appears  to  have  been  the  first 
Englishman,  of  whom  we  know  anything,  to  visit  Borneo,  or 
at  least  that  part  of  it  with  which  this  history  deals,  and  in 
1665  he  spent  some  little  time  at  "a  small  island  which  lay 
near  the  north  end  of  Borneo,"  -  but  he  did  not  visit  the  main- 
land ;  perhaps,  however,  he  may  not  have  been  the  first.  As 
far  back  as  16 12,  Sir  Henry  Middleton  projected  a  voyage 
to  Borneo.  He  died  at  Bantam  in  Java,  where  the  East 
India  Company  had  established  a  Factory  in  1603,  but  it  was 
not  until  1682  that  the  Dutch  expelled  the  English  from 
that  place,  and  from  thence  to  Borneo  is  too  simple  an 
adventure  not  to  have  been  attempted  and  accomplished  by 
the  daring  old  sea-dogs  of  those  days.  According  to 
Dampier,  a  Captain  Bowry  was  in  Borneo  in  1686  ;3  some 
English  were  captured  by  the  Dutch  when  they  took  Suka- 

'   See  note  2,  p.  45. 

'2  A  Collection  i'f  Voyages,  1739,  Dampier. 

;l  Idem. 


EARLY   HISTORY  43 

dana  in  1687  ;  and  there  were  probably  others  there  before, 
but  no  settlement  on  the  north  and  north-western  shores  was 
effected  by  the  English  until  1773,  when  the  East  India 
Company  formed  a  settlement  at  Balambangan,  an  island 
north  of  Marudu  Bay,  the  same  probably  as  that  on  which 
Captain  Cowley  had  stayed.  This  settlement,  however,  was 
but  short  lived,  for  in  February  1775  it  was  attacked  by  a 
small  force  of  Sulus  and  Lanuns  led  by  a  cousin  of  the 
Sultan  of  Sulu,  Datu  Teting.  The  garrison  of  English  and 
Bugis  was  more  than  sufficient  to  have  repelled  the  attack, 
but  they  were  taken  completely  by  surprise  ;  the  Resident 
and  the  few  settlers  managed  to  escape  in  what  vessels 
they  could  find.1  A  number  of  cannon  and  muskets,  and 
considerable  booty,  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  raiders.  The 
motive  for  this  act  was  revenge  ;  the  English  had  behaved 
badly  to  the  natives  of  the  neighbouring  islands,  and  Datu 
Teting  had  himself  suffered  the  indignity  of  being  placed  in 
the  stocks  when  on  a  visit  to  the  settlement.  The  Company 
had  established  a  Factory  at  Bruni  as  well,  having  obtained 
from  the  Sultan  the  monopoly  of  the  pepper  trade,  and  to 
this  Factory  the  survivors  retired,  but  some  settled  on  the 
island  of  Labuan,  where  they  made  a  village.  In  1803, 
the  Company  again  established  themselves  at  Balambangan, 
but  after  a  short  occupation  abandoned  the  island,  together 
with  the  Factory  at  Bruni.  No  punishment  followed  Datu 
Teting's  act,  and  British  prestige  in  northern  Borneo  was 
destroyed. 

This  is  briefly  the  whole  history  of  British  enterprise  in 
that  part  of  Borneo  lying  north  of  the  equator,  and  it  reflects 
little  credit  on  the  part  played  by  our  countrymen  in  Eastern 
affairs  in  those  days. 

We  have  shown  that  Bruni  early  in  the  fourteenth 
century  possessed  a  population  of  at  least  100,000.  Accord- 
ing to  Sir  Hugh  Low,  two  hundred  years  after  Pigafetta's 
visit,  the  population  was  estimated  at  40,000,  with  a  Chinese 
population  in  its  neighbourhood  of  30,000.  engaged  in  plant- 
ing pepper.2      In  1809,  tne  city  had  shrunk  to  3000  houses 

1  Forrest's  Voyage  to  New  Guinea,  1779- 
2  Sarawak,  Hugh  Low,  1848. 


44  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

with  a  population  of  15,00c1  In  1847,  Low  placed  the 
population  at  1 2,000  ;  the  Chinese  had  then  disappeared, 
excepting  a  few  who  had  been  reduced  to  slaver)-.  The 
population,  still  diminishing,  is  now  under  8000. 

On  the  picturesque  hills  that  surround  the  town  are  still 
to  be  found  traces  of  thriving  plantations  which  formerly 
existed  there,  and  which  extended  for  many  miles  into  the 
interior.  These  have  totally  disappeared,  with  the  population 
which  cultivated  them.  In  1  29 1 ,  two  centuries  before  the  first 
European  vessel  rounded  the  Cape,2  Ser  Marco  Polo  visited 
the  Archipelago.  He  gives  us  the  first  narrative  we  possess 
of  the  Chinese  junk  trade  to  the  westward,  and  mentions  a 
great  and  profitable  traffic  carried  on  by  the  Chinese  with 
Borneo,3  and  this  trade  throve  for  many  years  afterwards  ; 
even  in  1776  the  commerce  with  China  was  considerable,4 
though  then  it  must  have  been  declining,  for  it  had  ceased 
before  the  close  of  that  century.  Hunt  records  that  in  his 
time  there  were  still  to  be  seen  at  Bruni  old  docks  capable 
of  berthing  vessels  of  from  500-600  tons.  Xow  the  most 
striking  feature  of  the  place  is  its  profound  poverty. 
Nothing  remains  of  its  past  glory  and  prosperity  but  its 
ancient  dynasty. 

Sir  Hugh  Low  tells  us  that  these  old  Malay  kingdoms 
appear  to  have  risen  to  their  zenith  of  power  and  prosperity 
two  hundred  years  after  their  conversion  to  Islam,  and  then 
their  decline  commenced,  but  he  should  have  added  half  a 
century  to  this  epoch.  The  late  Rajah  was  of  opinion  that 
perhaps  the  introduction  of  Muhammadanism  may  have  been 
the  cause  of  their  deterioration.  Two  hundred  and  fifty  years 
after  the  conversion  of  the  Malays  to  Muhammadanism,  and 
under  the  aegis  of  this  religion,  all  the  Malayan  States 
attained  their  zenith.  This  period  was  coetaneous  with  the 
appearance  of  what  may  fairly  be  described  as  their  wJiilc  peril, 
and  the  introduction  of  Muhammadanism,  a  religion  which 
Christians,  in  their  ignorance  of  its  true  precepts,  are  too  apt 
wholly  to  condemn,  brought  with   it  the  pernicious  sherips, 

1  Hum,  op.  cit.  -   I  lias,  in  1487. 

:  "  Antiquity  of  Chinese  Track-,"  J.  k.  Logan  in  the  Journal  of  the  Indian  Arch*- 

1848. 
4  Forrest,  op.  cit. 


EARLY   HISTORY  45 

the  pests  of  the  Archipelago.  The  decay  of  the  old  Malayan 
kingdoms  was  due  primarily  to  the  rapacious  and  oppressive 
policy  adopted  by  Europeans  in  their  early  dealings  with 
these  States,  which  was  continued  in  a  more  modified  form 
until  within  recent  times.  How  this  was  brought  about,  and 
how  the  sherips  contributed  to  it,  is  in  the  sequel. 

Prior  to  the  advent  of  the  late  Rajah  in  1838,  Sarawak 
appears  to  have  attracted  no  attention,  except  that  Gonsavo 
Pereira,  who  made  the  second  Portuguese  visit  to  Bruni  in 
1530,  says  that  Lave  (Mempawa),  Tanjapura  (which  cannot 
be  identified),  and  Cerava  (Sarawak)  were  the  principal  ports, 
and  contained  many  wealthy  merchants  ;  and  Valentyn 
relates  that  in  1609  the  Dutch  found  that  Calca  (Kalaka), 
Saribas,  and  Melanugo  had  fallen  away  from  Borneo  (Bruni) 
and  placed  themselves  under  the  power  of  the  king  of 
Johore.1  Melanugo  is  also  difficult  to  identify,  but  it  may 
be  that  a  transcriptive  error  has  crept  in  somewhere,  and 
that  it  refers  to  the  Malanau  districts  beyond  Kalaka.2 

The  Sarawak  Malays  claim  their  origin  from  the  ancient 
Kingdom  of  Menangkabau  in  Sumatra.  Fifteen  generations 
back,  one  Datu  Undi,  whose  title  was  Rajah  Jarom,  a  prince 
of  the  royal  house  of  Menangkabau,  emigrated  with  his  people 
to  Borneo,  and  settled  on  the  Sarawak  river.  This  prince 
had  seven  children,  the  eldest  being  a  daughter,  the  Datu 
Permisuri.3  She  married  a  royal  prince  of  Java  (this  was 
after  the  downfall  of  Majapahit),  and  from  them  in  a  direct 
line  came  the   Datu    Patinggi   Ali,  of  whom    more  will   be 

1  Logan,  op.  cit. 

-  Mercator's  map  gives  Melano,  which  confirms  this  supposition.  Other  places  on 
the  Sarawak  coast  mentioned  in  this  map  are  Tamaio-baio,  Barulo  (Bintulu),  Pucha- 
varao  (Muka),  Tamenacrim,  and  Tamaratos.  The  first  and  two  last  cannot  be 
identified.  Tama  is  of  course  for  tanah,  land,  and  the  last  name  simply  means  in 
Malay,  the  land  of  hundreds — of  many  people,  which  the  first  name  may  also  imply. 
Varao  being  man  in  Spanish  and  Portuguese,  Puchavarao  means  the  place  of  the 
Pucha  (Muka)  people — Pucha  also  being  a  transcriber's  error  for  Puka.  It  was  near 
this  place  that  the  Portuguese  captain,  who  afterwards  became  a  Rruni  pangiran 
(p.  42)  was  wrecked,  and  also  near  this  place  on  Cape  Sirik,  a  poini  which  is  con- 
tinually advancing  seaward,  that  some  forty  to  fifty  years  ago  the  remains  of  a  wreck 
were  discovered  a  considerable  distance  from  the  sea,  and  so  must  have  belonged  to 
a  ship  wrecked  many  years  before.  When  Rentap's  stronghold  in  the  Saribas  was 
captured  by  the  present  Rajah  in  1861,  an  old  iron  cannon  dated  1515  was  found 
there.  Traditions  exist  pointing  to  wrecks  and  to  the  existence  of  hidden  treasure  at 
two  or  three  places  along  the  coast. 

:!  Meaning  queen-consort. 


46  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

noticed  in  the  sequel,  and  the  lineage  is  now  represented  by 
his  grandson,  the  present  Datu  Bandar  of  Sarawak. 

The  Datu  Permisuri  remained  in  Sarawak.  Rajah 
Jarom's  eldest  son  established  himself  in  the  Saribas  ;  his 
third  son  in  the  Samarahan  ;  the  fourth  in  the  Rejang  ; '  and 
the  fifth  up  the  right-hand  branch  of  the  Sarawak,  from 
whence  his  people  spread  into  the  Sadong.  These  settle- 
ments increased  within  their  original  limits,  but  were  not 
extended  beyond  the  Rejang. 

Beyond  this  the  Malays  of  Sarawak  know  little  ;  but 
that  these  settlements  must  have  early  succumbed  to  the 
rising  power  of  Bruni  is  evident.  But  it  is  also  evident  that 
after  that  power  had  commenced  to  wane,  its  hold  over 
Sarawak  gradually  weakened  until  it  became  merely  nominal. 
In  1609,  the  year  they  established  themselves  at  Sambas, 
the  Dutch  found  that  these  districts  had  fallen  away  from 
Bruni,  as  we  have  noticed.  There  may  have  been,  and 
probably  were,  spasmodic  assertions  of  authority  on  the  part 
of  Bruni,  but  it  seems  fairly  evident  that  the  Sarawak  Malays 
managed  to  maintain  an  independence  more  or  less  complete 
for  many  years,  up  to  within  a  very  short  period  of  the  late 
Rajah's  arrival,  and  then  they  had  placed  themselves  again 
under  the  sovereignty  of  the  Sultan,  only  to  be  almost 
immediately  driven  into  rebellion  by  Pangiran  Makota,  the 
Sultan's  first  and  last  governor  of  Sarawak. 

Just  a  century  after  the  Portuguese  had  shown  the  way, 
and  had  won  for  their  king  the  haughty  title  of  "  Lord  of 
the  Navigation  and  Commerce  of  Ethiopia,  Arabia,  Persia, 
and  India,"  the  English  and  the  Dutch  appeared  in  the 
Archipelago.  The  latter  under  Houtman,  who  had  learnt 
the  way  from  the  Portuguese  under  whom  he  had  served,  were 
the  first,  in  I  595,  if  we  exclude  Drake,  I  578,  and  Cavendish, 
ten  years  later,  and  both  merely  passed  through  the  southern 
portion  of  the  Archipelago  on  their  way  home  on  their 
voyages  round  the  world. 

During  the  seventeeth  century  the  English  confined  their 
energies  to  buccaneering  and  trading,  and  established  only 
two  Factories,  at  Bantam  1603,  and  at  Bencoolen  1685.     The 

1   Probably  the  Kalaka  ;  the  Malays  in  the  Rejang  came  from  that  river. 


EARLY   HISTORY  47 

Dutch  went  in  for  conquest,  established  themselves  strongly 
at  Jakatra,  renamed  by  them  Batavia,  in  161 1,  and  then  pro- 
ceeded to  drive  the  Portuguese  out  of  their  settlements.  The 
power  of  Portugal  had  been  humbled  by  Spain,  and  the 
courageous  spirit  of  the  old  conquistadores  had  departed.  One 
by  one  her  settlements  were  wrested  from  her,  and  by  the  end 
of  the  century  Holland  was  paramount  in  the  Archipelago. 
Beyond  one  or  two  abortive  descents  upon  Luzon,  one,  prob- 
ably the  last,  under  the  famous  Tasman,  the  Dutch  had  left 
the  Spaniards  undisturbed  in  the  Philippines,  but  to  the 
English  was  left  Bencoolen  only,  Bantam  having  been  taken 
away  from  them  in  1682,  and  to  the  Portuguese  a  portion 
of  the  island  of  Timor. 

During  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century  com- 
menced the  rise  of  Great  Britain  as  a  political  power  in  the 
Malayan  Peninsula  and  Archipelago.  In  1760,  her  only 
settlements,  those  on  the  western  coast  of  Sumatra,  had 
been  destroyed  by  the  French,  but  these  were  re-established 
in  1763,  and  Becoolen  was  fortified.  In  1786,  the  colony 
at  Penang  (Prince  Edward's  island)  was  established  ;  and  nine 
years  later  Malacca  was  captured  from  the  Dutch. 

Early  in  the  nineteenth  century  came  the  temporary 
downfall  of  Holland.  In  181  1,  Java  was  taken  by  the 
British,  and  the  Dutch  settlements  and  dependencies  passed 
into  their  hands,  though  these  were  soon  to  be  restored. 
After  subjugating  the  independent  princes  of  the  interior  and 
introducing  order  throughout  Java,  which  the  Dutch  had  so 
far  failed  to  accomplish,  all  her  possessions  in  the  Archipelago 
were  restored  to  Holland  in  18  16  ;  and  in  1825  Bencoolen 
was  exchanged  for  Malacca.    Singapore  was  founded  in  1  8  1 9. 

In  Borneo  south  of  the  equator,  excepting  Sukadana, 
which  has  already  been  mentioned,  Banjermasin  had  been 
the  only  country  to  attract  attention,  and  in  this  formerly 
rich  pepper  country  the  Dutch  and  English  were  alternately 
established.  As  early  as  1606,  the  former,  with  disastrous 
results,  attempted  to  establish  a  Factory  there,  and  after  that 
experience  they  appear  to  have  left  the  place  severely  alone, 
and  the  Banjers  were  free  of  the  white  peril  for  another 
century.     Then,  in  1  702,  the  East  India  Company  established 


48  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

a  Factory  there.  As  this  venture  is  an  interesting  illustra- 
tion of  the  methods  adopted  by  the  English,  and  an  example 
of  their  common  misconduct  and  mismanagement,  we  give  a 
few  particulars.  The  old  Dutch  chronicler,  Yalentyn,  tells 
us  how  the  Factor,  Captain  Moor,  who  lived  in  a  house 
constructed  on  a  raft,  with  only  a  wretched  earth  rampart 
ashore,  and  a  handful  of  English  and  Bugis  (of  the  Celebes) 
soldiers,  laid  a  heavy  hand  on  the  people,  but  managed  to 
hold  his  own,  until  in  1706  a  Captain  Barry  commenced 
building  a  proper  fort,  but  he  died  before  it  was  completed. 
Then  a  surgeon,  who  was  more  interested  in  natural  history 
than  anything  else,  became  Factor.  The  aggression  of  the 
English  increased,  and  the  Sultan  drove  them  out  with  the 
loss  of  many  men  and  two  ships.  Captain  Beeckman,  of 
the  H.E.I.  Company's  service,  who  was  there  in  17 13, 
ascertained  that  Captain  Barry  had  been  poisoned,  and  he 
tells  us  so  hateful  had  their  servants  rendered  the  name  of 
the  Company  to  the  Banjereens  that  he  had  to  pretend  his 
ships  were  private  traders.  They  had  promised  the  Sultan 
to  build  no  forts  nor  make  soldiers.  They  grossly  ill-treated, 
and  even  murdered  the  natives,  imposed  duties,  and  finally 
insulted  the  Sultan,  and  attempted  to  capture  the  queen- 
mother.  The  English,  taken  by  the  natives,  including  a 
Captain  Cockburn,  were  put  to  a  cruel  death.1 

Then  came  the  Dutch  once  more,  in  1747.  They  left  in 
1 8 10,  and  the  Sultan  then  petitioned  the  English  to  settle 
there  again.  This  was  done,  but,  simultaneously  with  their 
evacuation  of  Java,  the  English  retired  from  Banjermasin,  and 
it  was  transferred  to  the  Dutch,  who  shortly  afterwards  re- 
established their  old  stations  in  western  Borneo  up  to  Sambas. 

The  Dutch  continued  to  extend  their  influence,  till,  in 
process  of  time,  they  had  acquired  control  over  two-thirds  of 
the  island. 

Necessarily  this  is  but  a  brief  summary  of  the  political 
history  of  Borneo,  and  of  the  countries  adjacent  to  it  up  to  the 
time  when  commences  our  story  of  the  north-western  portion 
of  the  island,  but  it  may  be  deemed  sufficient  to  afford  the 
reader  a  clearer  insight  into  the  narrative  that  follows 
1  ./  Voyage  to  und  from  the  Island  of  Borneo,  17 18. 


EARLY   HISTORY 


49 


The  system  of  trade  adopted  by  the  Dutch,  following  in 
the  footsteps  of  the  Portuguese,  was  bad.  Each  in  turn 
made  of  trade  a  monopoly,  excluding  the  vessels  of  every 
other  nation.  Such  produce  of  the  country  as  was  suitable 
for  the  Chinese  market  had  to  be  sent  first  to  one  of  their 
own  depots,  thence  to  be  transhipped  to  China,  and  all  direct 
intercourse  with  China  was  checked.  This  cessation  of 
direct  trade  affected  the  prosperity  of  the  ports,  among  others 
Bruni,  in  a  variety  of  ways.  First,  by  the  circuitous  direction 
of  the  trade  the  exports  became  too  expensive  to  fetch  the 
cost  of  the  double  carriage,  and  in  course  of  time  dwindled 
to  nothing.  In  the  next  place,  the  cessation  of  immediate 
intercourse  writh  China  arrested  the  flow  of  immigrants,  hard- 
working and  frugal  men,  who  would  have  exploited  the 
industries  and  natural  products  of  the  island.  A  third,  and 
that  the  most  serious  effect  of  all,  as  a  result  of  the  extinction 
of  honest  trade  and  internal  development,  was  the  encourage- 
ment given  to  piracy.  The  sultans  and  rajahs  were  unable 
to  maintain  their  state,  and  the  people  to  satisfy  their  require- 
ments by  just  means,  and  so  commenced  to  live  by  piracy. 
So  long  as  immediate  requirements  were  satisfied  by  this 
means,  they  gave  no  thought  to  the  morrow  ;  it  did  not 
occur  to  them,  or  they  were  too  ignorant  to  consider,  that 
they  were  pulling  up  by  the  roots  that  on  which  the  future 
prosperity  of  their  countries  depended. 

"  The  Dutch  had  no  sooner  established  themselves  at 
Batavia  than,  not  satisfied  with  transferring  to  it  the  em- 
porium of  Bantam,  they  conceived  the  idea  of  making  it  the 
sole  and  only  depot  of  the  commerce  of  the  Archipelago.  .  .  . 
The  destruction  of  the  native  trade  of  the  Archipelago  by 
this  withering  policy  may  be  considered  as  the  origin  of 
many  of  the  evils  and  of  all  the  piracies  of  which  we  now 
complain.  A  maritime  and  commercial  people,  suddenly 
deprived  of  all  honest  employment,  or  the  means  of  respect- 
able subsistence,  either  sunk  into  apathy  and  indolence,  or  ex- 
pended their  natural  energies  in  piratical  attempts  to  recover 
by  force  and  plunder  what  they  had  been  deprived  of  by 
policy  and  fraud."      So  wrote  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  in  1821. 

That    bold,   old    west-country    buccaneer,   and    erstwhile 

E 


50  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

captain  of  the  King's  Navy,  William  Dampier,  who  besides 
being  a  shrewd  fighter  and  trader,  appears  to  have  been 
equally  as  shrewd  an  observer,  draws  a  sad  picture  of  the 
degradation  of  flourishing  states  under  the  grinding  power  of 
the  Dutch.  He  relates  that  the  natives  had  ever  been  will- 
ing to  trade  with  all  nations,  but  the  Dutch  East  India 
Company  not  only  monopolised  all  the  trade  of  those 
countries  under  their  immediate  control,  but  by  means  of 
their  guard-ships  prevented  the  adjacent  countries  trading 
with  others  than  themselves,  even  with  those  of  their  own 
countrymen  who  were  not  connected  with  the  Company, 
though  they  were  not  in  a  position  to  supply  these  countries 
with  all  the  commodities  their  inhabitants  needed,  or  to 
purchase  or  load  all  their  produce.1  The  cultivation  of 
pepper  naturally  declined,"  and  in  some  places  the  natives 
were  prevented  planting  more  than  the  Company  would 
require.  So  it  was  with  spices.  In  October  every  year  the 
Dutch  would  send  a  large  force  throughout  the  spice  islands 
to  destroy  trees,  so  as  to  keep  the  production  down,  and  small 
garrisons  were  scattered  about,  whose  sole  duty  appears  to 
have  been  to  see  that  the  cultivation  of  spices  was  restricted 
to  the  requirements  of  the  Dutch  alone.3 

"  The  people,  though  they  are  Malayans,  yet  they  are  civil 
enough,  engaged  thereto  by  trade  ;  for  the  more  trade  the 
more  civility  ;  and,  on  the  contrary,  the  less  trade  the  more 
barbarity  and  inhumanity.  For  trade  has  a  strong  influence 
upon  all  people,  who  have  found  the  sweet  of  it,  bringing 
with  it  so  many  conveniences  of  life  as  it  does.  I  find  the 
Malayans  in  general  are  implacable  enemies  to  the  Dutch  ; 
and  all  seems  to  spring  from  an  earnest  desire  they  have  of  a 
free  trade,  which  is  restrained  by  them  where  they  have  any 
power.  But  'tis  freedom  only  must  be  the  means  to  en- 
courage any  of  these  remote  people  to  trade, — especially  such 
of  them  as  are  industrious,  and  whose  inclinations  are  bent 
this  way,  as  most  of  the  Malayans  are. 

1  The  Dutch  confiscated  all  foreign  ships  they  could  seize  found   trading  in  the 
Archipelago  without  permission  from  them  to  do  so. 

irneo  and  Sumatra  were  then  the  great  pepper  producing  countries. 

:i  Forrest,  op.  cit.,  confirms  this,  and  adds  "  the  Dutch  forbid  the  natives  to  manu- 
facture cloth." 


EARLY   HISTORY  51 

"  Where  there  is  any  trade  to  be  had,  yet  not  sufficient  to 
maintain  a  Factory,  or  where  there  may  not  be  a  convenient 
place  to  build  a  fort,  so  as  to  secure  the  whole  trade  to 
themselves,  they  (the  Dutch)  send  their  guard-ships,  which, 
lying  at  the  mouth  of  the  rivers,  deter  strangers  from  coming 
thither,  and  keep  the  petty  princes  in  awe  of  them.  This 
probably  causes  so  many  petty  robberies  and  piracies  as  are 
committed  by  the  Malayans. 

"  Being  thus  provoked  by  the  Dutch,  and  hindered  of  a 
free  trade  by  their  guard-ships,  it  is  probable  they  therefore 
commit  piracies  themselves,  or  connive  at  and  encourage 
those  who  do.  So  that  the  pirates  seem  to  do  it  as  much  to 
revenge  themselves  on  the  Dutch  for  restraining  their  trade, 
as  to  gain  this  way  what  they  cannot  obtain  in  way  of 
traffic." 

So  wrote  Dampier,  and  if  we  go  on  to  seventy  years  ago, 
when  Sir  James  Brooke  commenced,  unaided,  that  counter- 
move  which  resulted  in  the  salvation  of  the  northern  part  of 
Borneo  from  the  then  hurtful  and  narrow-minded  rule  of  the 
Dutch,  and  to  its  being  opened  to  British  trade  and  influence, 
we  learn  from  his  own  words  "  how  the  policy  of  the  Dutch 
has  at  the  present  day  reduced  this  '  Eden  of  the  Eastern 
Wave  '  to  a  state  of  anarchy  and  confusion,  as  repugnant  to 
humanity  as  it  is  to  commercial  prosperity.  .  .  It  is  the 
direct  influence  which  it  exerts  that  has  proved  baneful  to 
the  Archipelago  under  the  assumed  jurisdiction  of  this 
European  power.  Her  unceasing  interference  in  the  concerns 
of  the  Malay  governments  and  the  watchful  fomenting  of 
their  internal  dissensions  have  gradually  and  effectually 
destroyed  all  rightful  authority,  and  given  rise  to  a  number 
of  petty  states  which  thrive  on  piracy  and  fatten  on  the 
slave  trade.  The  consequent  disorganisation  of  society 
arising  from  these  causes  has  placed  a  bar  to  commercial 
enterprise  and  personal  adventure,  and  has  probably  acted  on 
the  interior  tribes  much  in  the  same  way  as  this  fatal  policy 
has  affected  the  Malays.  As  far  as  can  be  ascertained,  the 
financial  and  commercial  concerns  of  the  Dutch  have  not 
been  prosperous  ;  it  is  easy  to  conceive  such  to  be  the  case, 
as  it  will  be  conceded  that  oppression  and  prosperity  cannot 


52  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

co-exist.  In  short,  with  the  smallest  amount  of  advantage, 
the  Dutch  Government  has  all  along  endeavoured  to  per- 
petuate an  exclusive  system,  aiming  more  at  injury  to  others 
than  any  advantage  to  themselves  or  to  the  nations  under 
their  sway  ;  for  where  an  enlightened  administration  might 
have  produced  the  most  beneficial  results,  we  are  forced  to 
deplore  not  only  the  mischief  done  and  the  mass  of  good 
neglected,  but  the  misery  and  suffering  inflicted  on  unhappy 
races,  capable,  as  has  been  proved,  of  favourable  develop- 
ment under  other  circumstances." 

In  Borneo,  as  elsewhere,  the  Malays  had  for  long 
been  notorious  pirates,  but  the  Sea-Dayaks,  only  so  far 
as  consisted  in  spasmodic  raids  for  the  acquisition  of 
heads. 

The  Malay  governors,  now  under  the  influence  of  the 
Arab  pseudo-sherips,  diverted  whole  tribes  of  Dayaks  from 
their  peaceable  avocations,  and  converted  them  into  sea- 
robbers.  The  cultivation  of  their  lands  to  produce  saleable 
goods,  for  which  there  was  now  no  sale,  was  abandoned,  and 
fertile  districts  that  had  grown  abundant  crops  were  reduced 
to  unprofitable  jungle. 

But  it  was  not  only  on  trading  vessels  in  the  China  seas 
that  they  were  taught  to  prey.  The  Malay  princes  and 
nobles  sent  those  tribes  whom  they  had  demoralised  to 
ascend  the  rivers  and  plunder  and  exterminate  the  peaceful 
tribes  in  the  interior. 

Among  the  tribes  thus  changed  from  an  agricultural 
people  into  pirates  were  the  Sekrang  and  the  Saribas. 
When  the  Malay  Muhammadan  princes  wanted  slaves  they 
summoned  their  Dayak  nominal  subjects  to  follow  them,  and 
led  them  against  other  tribes,  either  to  harry  the  coasts 
or  to  penetrate  up  the  rivers  ravaging  ;  and  then,  from  this 
first  stage  to  a  second,  converted  them  into  pirates  w  ho 
swept  the  seas,  falling  on  trading  vessels,  murdering  the  crews, 
and  appropriating  the  plunder.  According  to  agreement  the 
Malay  princes  received  two-thirds  of  the  spoil,  and  their 
Dayak  subjects,  whom  they  had  trained  to  be  pirates,  were 
granted  one-third  of  the  plunder  and  all  the  heads  they 
could  take. 


EARLY  HISTORY  53 

About  this  head-hunting  something  has  been  said  already, 
more  will  be  said  presently.  As  a  Dayak  said  to  a  European, 
"  You  like  books,  we  like  heads." 

In  the  latter  half  of  the  seventeenth  century,  the  Sultan 
of  Bruni,  Muadin,  was  constrained  to  call  in  the  aid  of  his 
neighbour,  the  Sultan  of  Sulu,  to  quell  an  insurrection,  and 
in  consideration  of  this  assistance  ceded  to  him  the  land  from 
the  north  as  far  as  the  Kimanis  river. 

Sultan  Abdul  Mubin  had  murdered  his  uncle,  Sultan 
Muhammad  Ali,  and  usurped  the  throne.  Pangiran  Bongsu, 
under  the  title  of  Sultan  Muadin,  with  the  assistance  of  the 
Sulus,  defeated  Abdul  Mubin,  who  was  executed.  Muham- 
mad Ali  was  murdered  in  1662,  and  a  war  ensued  that 
lasted  about  twelve  years.1 

The  Spaniards  attacked  Sulu,  captured  the  capital,  and 
carried  off  the  Sultan  to  Manila.  When  the  English  took 
Manila,  under  Sir  William  Draper  in  1762,  they  released 
the  Sultan  Mumin,  and  he  ceded  the  territory  that  had  been 
granted  to  his  predecessors  by  the  Sultan  of  Bruni  in  or 
about  1674  to  the  East  India  Company,  by  deed  signed  in 
1763,  in  consideration  of  an  engagement  entered  into  by 
the  Company  to  protect  him  from  the  Spaniards. 

Sultan  Jemal  ul  Alam,  of  Bruni,  who  died  in  1796, 
married  Rajah  Nur  Alam,  daughter  of  his  uncle  Sultan 
Khan  Zul  Alam,  21st  Sultan  of  Bruni,  by  his  first  wife.  By 
her  he  had  one  legitimate  son,  Omar  Ali  Saif  Udin.  The 
wife  of  Sultan  Jemal  had  a  full  brother,  Sri  Banun  Muda 
(usually  called  Rajah  Api),  and  also  half-brothers  Hasim 
and  Muhammad,  sons  of  Khan  Zul  Alam  by  his  second  wife, 
and  Bedrudin  and  two  other  sons  by  his  third  wife,  a  Lanun 
lady  of  rank. 

On  the  death  of  his  grand-uncle,  also  grandfather,  and 
predecessor,  Khan  Zul  Alam,  Omar  Ali  was  but  a  child,  and 
Rajah  Api  claimed  the  throne,  under  the  title  of  Sultan 
Muhammad  Alam,  and  there  were  years  of  trouble  in  Bruni. 
Sir  Hugh  Low  describes  him  as  a  madman  with  the  most 
cruel  propensities,  whence  probably  his  nickname  Api, 
which   signifies  "  Fire."      He  treated   his   nephew  with  great 

1  Sir  Hugh  Low,  op.  cit. 


54  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

roughness,  and  often  threatened  him  with  a  drawn  sword, 
and  Omar  ran  whimpering  to  his  mother  to  complain.  The 
prince's  mother  had  long  been  jealous  of  the  assumption  of 
the  sultanate  by  her  brother,  and,  her  son  being  almost 
imbecile,  she  hoped,  by  getting  rid  of  Api,  to  exercise  great 
power  in  the  state.  Accordingly,  about  the  year  1828,  she 
summoned  those  of  her  party  and  surrounded  the  residence 
of  the  Sultan  Muhammad  Alam,  or  Api,  who  finding  him- 
self deserted  escaped  in  a  boat.  His  sister  sent  after  him  a 
pangiran,  or  noble,  with  professions  of  friendship,  and  this 
pangiran  persuaded  him  to  assume  the  disguise  of  a  woman 
to  facilitate  his  escape.  Then  he  got  him  into  a  little  skiff, 
and  led  him  into  an  ambush,  where  he  was  ordered  to  be 
put  to  death.  He  received  the  intimation  with  firmness. 
"  Observe,"  said  he,  "  when  you  strangle  me,  on  which  side 
my  body  shall  fall — if  to  the  right  it  prognosticates  good 
for  Bruni,  if  to  the  left  it  foretells  evil."  The  bow-string 
was  twisted,  and  Api  sank  on  his  left  side.  As  we  shall  see 
that  omen  proved  true. 

Api's  brother,  Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  an  amiable,  courteous, 
feeble  man,  was  installed  as  Regent  ;  and  some  time  later 
was  sent  to  Sarawak,  where  a  rebellion  had  broken  out, 
caused  by  the  exactions  and  cruelty  of  the  Pangiran  Makota, 
who  had  been  appointed  governor  of  Sarawak  by  the  Sultan. 
Hasim  found  the  whole  district  a  prey  to  anarch}-,  and  those 
who  should  have  reduced  it  to  order  were  incompetent  and  too 
cowardly  to  fight.  All  he  was  able  to  do  was  to  maintain 
a  nominal  sovereignty  in  the  capital,  Kuching. 

The  Malays  and  Arabs  being  Muhammadans,  looked 
down  on  the  pagan  Land-Dayaks,  subject  to  their  domina- 
tion, as  mere  bondsmen,  to  be  slaughtered,  fleeced,  or  en- 
slaved— to  be  treated,  in  a  word,  as  their  caprice  dictated, 
without  being  taken  to  task  for  their  misdeeds.  The  limit 
of  their  exactions  was  fixed  by  necessity.  The  point 
beyond  which  oppression  ceased  was  that  where  nothing 
was  left  to  be  extorted.  But  over  the  Sea-Dayaks  of 
Sekrang,  Saribas,  and  Kanowit  they  had  no  power.  These 
tribes  were  far  too  independent  in  character  and  powerful 
to  submit  to  oppression.      These   Sea-Dayaks  would  follow 


EARLY   HISTORY  55 

their  so-called  masters  on  a  piratical  expedition,  and  would 
obey  them  only  so  far  as  it  pleased  themselves  to  do  so. 
As  to  the  Kayans,  they  were  too  greatly  feared  to  be 
molested.  The  late  Mr.  H.  B.  Low1  in  1879  was  refused 
permission  by  the  Sultan  to  cross  into  the  Baram  by  the 
Limbang,  for  fear  lest  this  should  show  the  Kayans  a  way 
into  Bruni.  The  Malay  rulers  oppressed  their  own  people 
and  the  Melanaus  almost  as  badly  as  they  did  the  Land- 
Dayaks,  murdering,  robbing,  and  enslaving  them. 

The  Land-Dayaks  in  Sarawak  were  governed  by  local 
Malay  datus  called  Patinggi,  Bandar,  and  Temanggong. 
These  officers  monopolised  the  trade.  When  the  Dayaks 
had  collected  rice,  edible  birds'  nests,  wax,  etc.,  the 
Patinggi  claimed  the  right  to  buy  the  produce  at  a  price 
fixed  by  himself,  and  one  that  barely  allowed  the  seller 
enough  to  pay  for  his  own  necessaries.  And  not  only  did 
the  Patinggi  claim  the  right  of  pre-emption,  but  so  did  all 
his  relatives,  and  in  the  end  so  did  every  Bornean  Malay  of 
any  position.  If  the  poor  Dayak  did  not  produce  sufficient 
to  satisfy  the  Patinggi,  girls  and  children  were  taken  to 
make  up  the  deficit  and  sold  into  slavery.2 

He  would  sometimes  send  a  bar  of  iron  to  a  headman 
of  a  tribe,  whether  the  latter  wanted  it  or  not,  and  require 
him  to  purchase  it  at  an  exorbitant  price  fixed  by  the 
sender.  The  man  dared  not  refuse  ;  then  another  bar  was 
sent,  and  again  another,  till  the  Dayak  chief  was  reduced  to 
poverty. 

If  a  Malay  met  a  Dayak  in  his  boat,  and  the  boat 
pleased  him,  he  would  cut  a  notch  in  the  gunwale  in  token 
that  he  appropriated  it  to  his  own  use.  Possibly  enough 
some  other  Bornean  Malay  might  fancy  the  same  boat 
and  cut  another  notch.  This  might  occur  several  times. 
Then  the  Dayak  was  required  to  hand  over  his  boat  to  the 
first  who  had  marked  it,  and  to  indemnify  the  other 
claimants  to  the  value  of  the  vessel. 

1  Son  of  the  late  Sir  Hugh  Low,  G.C. M.G.  He  served  in  the  Sarawak  Civil 
Service  from  1869  to  1887,  in  which  year  he  died.  His  knowledge  of  the  natives, 
their  languages,  and  customs,  was  unsurpassed.  The  notes  he  left  formed  the 
basis  of  Ling  Roth's  work,  The  Natives  of  Borneo,  1896. 

2  This  was  the  serah,  or  forced  trade  formerly  in  force  in  all  Malayan 
countries  ;  and  it  appears  to  be  still  so,  in  a  modified  form,  in  Sumatra. 


56  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Any  injury  done,  or  pretended  to  have  been  done,  how- 
ever accidentally,  by  a  Dayak  to  a  Malay,  had  to  be  paid 
for  by  a  ruinous  fine.  There  was  no  court  of  appeal,  no 
possibility  of  redress.  A  Malay  could  always,  and  at  any 
time,  enter  the  house  of  a  Dayak,  and  live  there  in  free 
quarters  as  long  as  he  pleased,  insult  or  maltreat  the  wife 
and  children  of  his  unwilling  host  with  impunity,  and  on 
leaving  carry  away  with  him  any  of  the  Dayak's  property 
to  which  he  had  taken  a  fancy  ;  and,  when  the  novelty  of 
the  possession  wore  off,  force  his  late  host  to  buy  it  back 
again  at  an  extravagant  price.  But  this  was  not  all.  When 
antimony  was  found,  the  unfortunate  Land-Dayaks  were 
driven  to  mine  it  at  no  wage  at  all,  and  their  hard  task- 
masters did  not  even  trouble  themselves  to  provide  them 
with  food.1  The  consequence  was  that  many  of  them 
died,  and  others  fled  to  the  jungle.  As  one  of  them 
pathetically  said,  "  We  do  not  live  like  men  ;  we  are  like 
monkeys  ;  we  are  hunted  from  place  to  place.  We  have  no 
houses,  and  when  we  light  a  fire  we  are  in  fear  lest  the 
smoke  should  betray  to  our  enemies  where  we  are." 

Of  Dayaks  there  are,  as  already  stated,  two  sorts,  the 
Land-Dayak  and  the  Sea-Dayak,  the  first  of  Indonesian,  the 
second  of  proto-Malay  stock.  The  former  are  a  quiet,  timid, 
industrious  people,  honest,  and  by  no  means  lacking  in 
intelligence,  living  on  hill-tops  to  which  they  have  fled  from 
their  oppressors  ;  the  latter  throve  on  piracy,  having  been 
brought  to  this  by  the  Muhammadan  Malays  and  the  half- 
bred  Arabs.  But  even  among  the  Sea-Dayaks  a  few  tribes 
had  not  been  thus  vitiated,  and  upon  these  the  late  Rajah 
could  always  rely  for  support. 

Their  Malay  masters  furnished  the  Sea-Dayaks,  whom  they 
had  converted  into  predatory  savages,  with  ammunition  and 
guns,  and  sent  them  either  to  sea  to  attack  merchant  vessels, 
or  up  the  rivers  to  fall  upon  villages  of  peaceful  tribes  ;  then 
the  men  were  slaughtered,  the  women  and  children  carried 
off  into  slavery.  The  villages  were  burnt,  and  by  a  refine- 
ment of  cruelty  the   fruit   trees  cut  down  and  standing  crops 

1  The  Sarawak  Malays  were  also  so  forced  to  mine  by  Pangiran  Makota,  and 
this  forced  labour  was  one  of  the  principal  causes  of  the  rebellion  of  1836-40  against 
the  Sultan's  Government 


EARLY   HISTORY  57 

destroyed,  from  which  the  principal  provision  of  the  natives 
was  gathered,  so  as  to  reduce  to  starvation  those  who  had 
escaped  into  the  jungle.  Land-Dayak  tribes  that  formerly 
had  been  numerous  and  prosperous  were  reduced  to  small 
numbers  and  to  poverty.  One  that  reckoned  230  families 
dwindled  to  50.  Three  whole  tribes  were  completely  ex- 
terminated. One  of  120  families  was  brought  down  to 
two,  that  is  to  say,  of  960  persons  only  16  were  left. 
The  population  that  had  consisted  of  1795  families,  or, 
reckoning  eight  persons  to  each  family,  14,360  souls,  in  ten 
years  was  reduced  to  6792  souls  showing  a  decrease  in 
these  ten  years  of  946  families,  or  of  7568  persons.  On 
Sir  James  (then  Mr.)  Brooke's  visit  to  the  country  in  1840, 
in  converse  with  the  chief  of  one  of  the  native  tribes,  the 
man  told  him,  "  The  Rajah  takes  from  us  whatever  he  wants, 
at  whatever  price  he  pleases,  and  the  pangirans  take  what- 
ever they  can  get  for  no  price  at  all,"  "  At  first,"  says  Mr. 
Brooke,  "  the  Dayak  paid  a  small  stated  sum  as  an 
acknowledgment  of  vassalage,  by  degrees  this  became  an 
arbitrary  and  unlimited  taxation,  and  now,  to  consummate 
the  iniquity,  the  entire  tribes  are  pronounced  slaves  and 
liable  to  be  disposed  of." 

The  natural  result  of  such  treatment  was  that  those  natives 
who  escaped  spoliation  and  slaughter  fled  up  the  country 
beyond  reach  of  their  persecutors.  The  depopulation  from 
the  same  cause  went  on  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Bruni  as 
well  as  in  Sarawak.  Mr.  Spenser  St.  John  says  in  1858  : 
"  It  is  melancholy  to  see  this  fine  district  (Limbang),  once 
well  cultivated,  now  returning  to  jungle  ;  formerly  where  the 
population  extended  a  hundred  miles  beyond  the  last  village 
at  present  inhabited,  the  supply  of  provisions  was  ample  at 
Bruni.  Now  that  the  natives  are  decreasing,  while  Bruni  is 
perhaps  as  numerous  as  ever,  the  demands  made  by  the 
nobles  are  too  great  even  for  the  natives'  forbearance,  and  in 
disgust  they  are  gradually  abandoning  all  garden  cultivation. 
Already  brushwood  is  taking  the  place  of  bananas  and  yams, 
so  that  few  of  either  are  to  be  had.  The  people  say  it  is 
useless  for  them  to  plant  for  others  to  eat  the  whole  produce. 
Then  as  the  natives  cannot   furnish  the  supplies  exacted  of 


58  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

them  by  the  pangirans,  these  latter  take  from  them  their 
children  ;  the  lads  are  circumcised  and  made  Mahomedans 
and  slaves,  and  the  girls  are  drafted  into  the  already 
crowded  harems  of  the  rajahs."  The  same  writer  gives  an 
instance  or  two  of  the  manner  in  which  the  subject  natives 
were  treated.  In  1855,  the  warlike  Kayans  of  the  interior 
descended  the  Limbang  river  and  threatened  a  tribe  of 
Muruts.  The  Pangiran  Makota,1  virtual  governor  of  Bruni, 
met  them  and  arranged  with  the  chiefs  that  for  the  sum  of 
.£700  they  should  spare  these  Muruts.  Then  he  set  those 
who  were  menaced  to  collect  the  money.  When  they  had 
done  this  and  placed  the  sum  in  his  hands,  he  pocketed  it 
and  returned  to  Bruni,  leaving  the  Kayans  to  deal  with  the 
tribe  after  their  own  sweet  will. 

Again,  in  1857,  the  same  head-hunters  threatened 
another  Murut  village.  Makota  had  a  secret  interview  with 
the  Kayan  chiefs,  and  then  gave  out  that  peace  had  been 
concluded.  What  he  had  actually  done  was  to  deliver  over 
to  them  to  pillage  and  exterminate  the  Murut  village  of 
Balal  Ikan,  against  which  he  bore  a  grudge  for  having 
resisted  his  exactions. 

The  whole  of  the  north  and  west  of  Borneo  was  in  a 
condition  of  indescribable  wretchedness  and  hopelessness 
when  Mr.  James  Brooke  appeared  on  the  scene.  Oppression 
the  most  cruel  and  grinding,  encouragement  of  piracy  and 
head-hunting  by  the  selfish,  unscrupulous  pangirans  sent  from 
Bruni,  were  depopulating  the  fair  land.  Sarawak,  then  a 
very  small  province,  was,  as  we  shall  see,  in  insurrection. 
Single-handed,  with  but  a  comparatively  small  capital,  the 
whole  of  which  he  sank  in  the  country,  with  no  support  from 
the  British  Government,  with  no  Chartered  Company  at  his 
back,  he  devoted  his  life  to  transform  what  had  become 
a  hell  into  what  it  has  become,  a  peaceful  and  happy 
country. 

1  This  happened  after   this    man    had    been   banished    by  the   late   Rajah   from 
Sarawak.      See  Chap.   III.  p.  87,  for  the  fate  he  met  and  so  richly  merited. 


EARLY   HISTORY  59 

APPENDIX    TO    CHAPTER    II 

LIST    OF    THE    MUHAMMEDAN    SULTANS    OF    BRUXI 

Taken  from  the  Sclesilali  (Book  of  the  Descent),  preserved 
in  Bruni,  by  the  late  Sir  Hugh  Low,  G.C.M.G.  Published 
in  the  Journal  No.  5  of  the  Straits  Branch  R.A.S. 

1.  Sultan  Mahomed,  who  introduced  the  religion  of  Islam. 

2.  Sultan  Akhmed,  brother  of  above,  married  to  the  daughter 

of  Ong  Sum  Ping,  Chinese  Raja  of  Kinabatangan.  No 
sons,  but  one  daughter  married  to — 

3.  Sultan  Berkat,  from  Taif  in  Arabia.      A  descendant  of  the 

prophet  through  his  grandson  Husin.  Berkat,  the  blessed. 
His  real  name  was  Sherif  Ali. 

4.  Sultan  Suleiman,  son  of  above,  who  was  succeeded  by  his 

son — 

5.  Sultan  Bulkeiah  ; x  towards  the  end  of  his  reign  Pigafetta's 

first  visit  to  Bruni  in  1521  probably  took  place. 

6.  Sultan  Abdul  Kahar,  son  of  above.      Had  forty-two  sons,  of 

whom — 

7.  Saif-ul-Rejal  succeeded  him.      During  his  reign  the  Spaniards 

attacked  Bruni  in  1576  and  1580,  taking  it  on  the 
second  occasion. 

8.  Sultan  Shah  Bruni,  son  of  above.      Having  no  children  he 

abdicated  in  favour  of  his  brother — 

9.  Sultan  Hasan,  succeeded  by  his  son. 

10.  Sultan  Abdul-Jalil-ul-Akbar,  succeeded  by  his  son. 

11.  Sultan    Abdul-Jalil-ul-Jehar,    who    was    succeeded    by    his 

uncle — 

12.  Sultan  Mahomet  Ali,  son  of  Sultan  Hasan. 

13.  Sultan  Abdul  Mubin.     Son  of  Sultan  Mahomet  Ali's  sister. 

He  murdered  his  uncle  and  usurped  the  throne.  He 
was  worsted  in  a  revolution  that  lasted  twelve  years,  and 
was  executed. 

14.  Sultan  Muaddim,  fourth  son  of  Sultan  Jalil-ul-Akbar,  nephew 

and  son-in-law  of  Sultan  Mahomet  Ali.  Succeeded  by 
his  nephew  (half-brother's  son) — 

15.  Sultan  Nasr  Addin,  grandson  of  Sultan  Jalil-ul-Akbar. 

16.  Sultan   Kemal-Addin,    son    of   Sultan    Mahomet    Ali,    who 

abdicated  in  favour  of  his  son-in-law — 

1  Famous  in  Malay  legends  throughout  the  East  as  Xakoda  Ragam,  a  renowned 
sea  rover  and  conqueror. 


60  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

17.  Sultan  Mahomet  Ali-Udin — on  his  father's  side  grandson  ot 

Sultan  Muaddin,  on  his  mother's  side  great-great-grand- 
son of  Sultan  Jalil-ul-Akbar.  He  died  before  his  father- 
in-law  and  great  uncle,  Sultan  Kemal-Addin,  who  again 
ascended  the  throne  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son — 

18.  Sultan    Omar   Ali   Saif-udin.     Died    1795.      Succeeded   by 

his  son — 

19.  Sultan  TejAValden.      Died  1807.      He  abdicated  in  favour 

of  his  son — 

20.  Sultan  Jemal-ul-Alam,  who  reigned  for  a  few  months  only, 

and  died  in  1796,  when  his  father  reascended  the  throne 
and  was  succeeded  in  1809  by  his  half-brother — 

21.  Sultan  Khan  Zul-Alam,  succeeded  by  his  great-nephew  and 

grandson — 

22.  Sultan  Omar  Ali  Saif-Udin,  second  son  of  Sultan  Mahomed 

Jemal-ul-Alam.  Died  1852.  He  left  the  throne,  by  will 
and  general  consent  of  the  people,  to 

23.  Sultan    Abdul    Mumin,   who    was   descended    from    Sultan 

Kemal-Addin.      Died  1885,  succeeded  by 

24.  Sultan  Hasim-Jalilal  Alam  Akamaddin,  son  of  Sultan  Omar 

Ali  Saif-udin.      Died  1906. 

25.  Sultan  Mahomet  Jemal-ul-Alam,  son  of  above. 

The  above  are  abridged  extracts.  The  last  two  sultans 
were  not  included  in  Low's  list,  which  was  made  in  1893. 
Low's  spelling  of  the  names  is  followed. 

Forrest,  op.  cit.,  who  obtained  his  information  from 
Mindanau  records,  states  that  about  1475  a  Sherip  Ali  and 
his  two  brothers  came  from  Mecca.  Ali  became  the  first 
Muhammadan  prince  in  Mindanau  ;  one  brother  became 
King  of  Borneo  (Bruni)  and  the  other  King  of  the  Moluccas. 
As  regards  the  date  this  agrees  with  the  Bruni  records,  and 
the  brothers  might  have  borne  the  same  name.  (See 
Mahomet  Ali,  Omar  Ali  above.) 

According  to  Chinese  records,  a  Chinese  is  said  to  have 
been  King  of  Bruni  in  the  beginning  of  the  1  5th  century.1 
This  would  have  been  in  Ong  Sum  Ping's  time,  and  it 
probably  refers  to  him. 

1  W.  I'.  Groeneveldt,  Essays  relating  to  Indo-Ckina,  1887. 


KUCHING   IN    1840. 
(The  picture  at  the  end  of  this  chapter  is  taken  from  exactly  the  same  point  of  view . ) 


CHAPTER    III 

THE    MAKING    OF    SARAWAK 


AMES  BROOKE  was 
born  at  Benares  on  April 
29,  1803,  and  was  the 
son  of  Thomas  Brooke  of 
the  East  India  Company's 
Civil  Service.  He  entered 
the  Company's  army  in 
1  8 19,  and  took  part  in  the 
first  Burmese  war,  in  which 
he  was  severely  wounded, 
and  from  which  he  was  invalided  home  in  1825.  He  had 
been  honourably  mentioned  in  despatches  for  conspicuous 
services  rendered  in  having  raised  a  much  needed  body  of 
horse,  and  for  bravery.  Then  he  resigned  his  commission, 
and  visited  China,  Penang,  Malacca,  and  Singapore.  There 
he  heard  much  of  the  beauty  and  the  wonders  of  the 
fairy  group  of  islands  forming  the  Eastern  Archipelago, 
and  of  the  dangers  to  be  encountered  there  from  Malay 
pirates  ;  islands  rich  in  all  that  nature  could  lavish  in  flower 
and  fruit,   in   bird   and   gorgeous  butterfly,   in    diamond  and 

61 


62  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

pearl,  but  "  the  trail  of  the  serpent  was  over  them  all. " 
Very  little  was  known  of  these  islands,  few  English  vessels 
visited  them,  the  trade  was  monopolised  by  the  Dutch,  who 
sought  to  exclude  all  European  nations  from  obtaining  a 
foothold.  They  claimed  thousands  of  islands  from  Sumatra 
to  Papua  as  within  their  exclusive  sphere  of  influence,  islands 
abounding  in  natural  products  which  they  exploited 
imperfectly,  and  did  nothing  to  develop.  This  was  a  dog-in- 
the-manger  policy  to  which  Great  Britain  submitted. 

The  young  man's  ambition  was  fired  ;  he  longed  to 
explore  these  seas,  to  study  the  natural  history,  the  ethnology, 
to  discover  gaps  in  the  Dutch  imaginary  line  through  which 
English  commerce  might  penetrate  and  then  expand. 

Mr.  Brooke  made  a  second  voyage  to  the  East  in  a  brig 
which,  in  partnership  with  another,  he  had  purchased  and 
freighted  for  China  ;  but  this  venture  proved  a  failure,  and  the 
brig  and  cargo  were  sold  in  China  at  a  loss. 

In  1835,  Mr.  Thomas  Brooke  died,  leaving  to  his  son  the 
sum  of  .£30,000.  James  now  saw  that  a  chance  was  open 
to  him  of  realising  his  youthful  dream,  and  he  bought  a  yacht, 
the  Royalist,  a  schooner  of  142  tons  burden,  armed  with  six- 
pounders  and  several  swivels,  and,  after  a  preliminary  cruise 
in  the  Mediterranean  to  train  his  crew,  he  sailed  in  December 
1838,  flying  the  flag  of  the  Royal  Yacht  Squadron,  for  that 
enchanted  group  of  islands — 

Those  islands  of  the  sea 
Where  Nature  rises  to  Fame's  highest  round.1 

And  as  he  wrote,  to  cast  himself  on  the  waters,  like 
Southey's  little  book  ;  but  whether  the  world  would  know 
him  after  many  days,  was  a  question  which,  hoping  the 
best,  he  could  not  answer  with  any  degree  of  assurance. 

He  arrived  in  Singapore  in  May,  1839.  The  Rajah 
Muda  Hasim  of  Sarawak  had  recently  shown  kind  treat- 
ment to  some  English  shipwrecked  sailors,  and  Mr. 
Brooke  was  commissioned  by  the  Governor  and  the 
Singapore  Chamber  of  Commerce  to  convey  letters  of  thanks 
and    presents  to  the  Rajah  Muda  in  acknowledgment  of  his 

moen's  Lusiad  (Sir  Richard  Burton's  translation. )     Camoen  here  refers  to  the 
islands  of  the  Malayan    \rehipd ago,  which  he  visited  in  his  exile  some  350  yean 


THE   MAKING   OF   SARAWAK 


63 


humanity,  exceptional  in  those  days,  and  a  marked  contrast 
to  the  treatment  afforded  to  the  crew  and  passengers  of  the 
Sultana  a  little  later  by  his  sovereign,  the  Sultan  of  Bruni, 
which  is  recorded  further  on.1  This  chance  diverted  Mr. 
Brooke  from  his  original  project  of  going  to  Marudu  Bay,  the 
place  he  had  indicated  as  being  the  best  adapted  for  the 
establishment  of  a  British  settlement,  and  took  him  to  the 
field  of  his  life-long  labours. 

He   left   Singapore  on   July    27,   1839,  full   of  hope  and 


LOYALIST        OFF    SANTUboNG. 


confidence  that  something  was  to  be  done,  and  reaching  the 
West  Coast  of  Borneo  surveyed  some  seventy  miles  of  that 
coast  before  entering  the  Sarawak  river,  which  was  not  then 
marked  on  the  charts  ;  for  of  Borneo  at  that  time  very  little 
was  known  ;  its  interior  was  a  blank  upon  the  maps,  and  its 
coast  was  set  down  by  guess  work  on  the  Admiralty  charts  ; 
so  much  so,  that  Mr.  Brooke  found  Cape  Datu  placed  some 
seventy  to  eighty  miles  too  far  to  the  east  and  north,  and 
he  was  "  obliged  to  clip  some  hundreds  of  miles  of  habitable 
land  off  the  charts." 


1  St.  John  tells  us  that  a  few  years  before  this  an  English  ship  that  had  put  into 
awak  river  to  water  was  treacherously  seized  ;  the  Englishmen  were  murdered, 
and  the  Lascars  sold  into  slavery. 


64  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Kuching,1  the  capital  of  Sarawak,  is  so  called  from  a 
small  stream  that  runs  through  the  town  into  the  main  river, 
that  a  few  miles  below  expands  and  forms  a  delta  of  many 
channels  and  mouths.  The  town,  which  is  seated  some 
twenty  miles  from  the  open  sea,  was  founded  by  Pangiran 
Makota,  when  Bruni  rule  was  established  in  Sarawak,  and  he 
was  sent  down  as  the  Sultan's  representative  a  few  years 
previously  to  the  arrival  of  Mr.  Brooke.  At  this  time  the 
population,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  Chinese  traders  and 
other  eastern  foreigners,  consisted  entirely  of  Bruni  Malays 
to  the  number  of  about  800.  The  Sarawak  Malays  lived  at 
Katupong,'2  a  little  higher  up,  and  farther  up  again  at  Leda 
Tanah,  under  their  head  chief,  the  brave  Datu  Patinggi  Ali. 

A  distinction  must  be  made,  which  it  will  be  as  well  to  again 
note  here,  between  the  Malays  of  Bruni  and  those  of  Sarawak, 
in  other  works  described — the  former  as  Borneans,  and  the 
latter  as  Siniawans.  They  are  very  different  in  appearance, 
manners,  and  even  in  language.  There  are  not  many  Brunis 
in  Sarawak  now.  Most  returned  to  their  own  country  with 
Rajah  Muda  Hasim  when  he  retired  there  in  1 844,  and 
others  drifted  thither  later.  All  the  Malays  in  Kuching, 
except  a  sprinkling  of  foreigners,  are  Sarawak  Malays,  the 
descendants  of  the  so-called  Siniawans. 

The  bay  that  lies  between  Capes  Datu  and  Sipang  is  indeed  a 
lovely  one.  To  the  right  lies  the  splendid  range  of  Poe,  over- 
topping the  lower,  but  equally  beautiful,  Gading  hills  ;  then  the 
fantastic-shaped  mountains  of  the  interior ;  while  to  the  left  the 
range  of  Santubong  end-on  towards  you  looks  like  a  solitary  peak, 
rising  as  an  island  from  the  sea,  as  Teneriffe  once  appeared  to  me 
sailing  by  in  the  Meander.  From  these  hills  flow  many  streams 
which  add  to  the  beauty  of  the  view.  But  the  gems  of  the  scene  are 
the  little  emerald  isles  that  are  scattered  over  the  surface  of  the  bay, 
presenting  their  pretty  beaches  of  glittering  sand,  or  their  Lovely 
foliage  drooping  to  kiss  the  rippling  waves.  There  is  no  prettier 
spot  (than  the  mouth  of  the  Sarawak  river) ;  on  the  right  bank  rises 
the  splendid  peak  of  Santubong,  over  2000  feet  in  height,3  clothed 
from  its  summit  to  its  base  with  noble  vegetation,  its  magnificent 

1  .  Inglice,  cat. 

-  A  short   tunc-  before  the  commencement   ol   tin-  history  this  place  had  been 
attacked  by  the  Saribas  Dayaks,  and  120  people  were  slain. 
3  3000  feet. 


THE  MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  65 

buttresses  covered  with  lofty  trees,  showing  over  a  hundred  feet  of 
stem  without  a  branch,  and  at  its  base  a  broad  beach  of  white  sand 
fringed  by  graceful  casuarinas,  waving  and  trembling  under  the  in- 
fluence of  the  faintest  breeze,  and  at  that  time  thronged  by  wild  hogs.1 

On  August  1  5,  the  Royalist  cast  anchor  off  the  capital,  and 
Mr.  Brooke  had  an  interview  with  the  Rajah  Muda,  presented 
the  letters  and  gifts,  and  was  very  graciously  received.  He 
was  allowed  to  make  excursions  to  Lundu,  Samarahan,  and 
Sadong,  large  rivers  hitherto  unknown  to  Europeans,  and  he 
added  some  seventy  miles  to  his  survey  of  the  coast ;  but  as 
the  Malays  and  most  of  the  Dayak  tribes  were  in  insurrection 
in  the  interior,  travelling  there  was  unsafe. 

The  Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  the  Bandahara  of  Bruni  and 
the  heir-presumptive  to  the  throne,  was  a  plain,  middle-aged 
man,  with  gracious  and  courtly  manners,  amiable  and  well 
disposed,  but  weak  and  indolent.  He  was  placed  in  a 
difficult  position,  which  he  had  not  the  energy  or  the  ability 
to  fill.  The  Sultan  of  Bruni  had  confided  the  district  of 
Sarawak  some  years  previously  to  the  Pangiran  Makota  as 
governor,  a  man  utterly  unprincipled,  grasping,  selfish,  cruel, 
and  cowardly,  but  "  the  most  mild,  the  most  gentlemanly 
rascal  you  can  conceive";2  and  by  his  exactions  and  by  forced 
labour  at  the  antimony  mines,  he  had  driven  the  Sarawak 
Malays,  as  well  as  the  Land-Dayaks,  into  open  revolt.  They 
proclaimed  their  independence  of  Bruni,  and  asserted  that 
submission  to  the  Sultan  had  been  voluntary  on  their  part, 
and  on  stipulated  conditions  that  had  not  been  carried  out. 
For  three  years  they  had  carried  on  their  struggle  against 
the  Bruni  tyrants,  but,  though  far  from  being  reduced,  it 
became  evident  to  them  that  unaided  they  could  not  attain 
their  freedom.  Surrender  meant  death  to  the  chiefs  and 
abject  slavery  to  the  people,  and  to  their  womankind  some- 
thing far  worse  than  either,  so  in  their  extremity  they 
appealed  to  the  Dutch.  A  year  before  Mr.  Brooke's  arrival 
they  had  invited  the  Dutch  to  plant  the  Netherlands  flag  in 
their  camp,  and  afterwards  had  sent  an  emissary  to  Batavia 

1  Spencer  St.  John,  Sir  James  Brooke,  1879. 

-  Mr.  Brooke.  He  was  a  good-looking  man.  Capt.  the  Hon.  H.  Keppel  gives 
his  portrait,  the  frontispiece  to  vol.  i.  of  his  Expedition  to  Borneo  of  H. M.S.  Dido, 
which  is  incorrectly  entitled  the  portrait  of  Rajah  Muda  Hasim. 

F 


66  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

to  beg  the  assistance  of  the  Governor-General,  but  open 
assistance  was  refused,  though  the  Sultan  of  Sambas  appears 
to  have  constantly  supplied  the  rebels  with  ammunition  and 
provisions.  As  Mr.  Brooke  had  warned  the  Pangiran 
Makota,  who  had  reason  to  fear  Dutch  aggression,  the 
danger  was  not  an  open  violation  of  their  independence,  but 
their  coming  on  friendly  terms — they  might  make  war  after 
having  first  gained  a  footing,  not  before.  The  Dutch  had  made 
great  efforts  to  establish  trade  with  Sarawak,  in  other  words, 
to  monopolise  it,  and  through  their  vassal,  the  Sultan  of 
Sambas,  had  offered  assistance  to  open  the  antimony  mines. 

The  Sultan  of  Bruni  had  sent  his  uncle,  the  Rajah  Muda 
Hasim,  to  reduce  the  rebels,  but  without  withdrawing  Makota 
and  checking  his  abuse  of  authority.  A  desultory  war  had 
been  carried  on  without  success  under  the  direction  of  Makota, 
who  was  too  cowardly  himself  to  lead  his  Malay  and  Dayak 
levies  into  action,  to  storm  the  stockades  of  the  insurgents, 
and  to  pursue  them  to  their  strongholds.  The  consequence 
was  that  anarchy  prevailed,  except  in  the  immediate  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  capital. 

There  was  something  in  the  frank  eye,  in  the  cheery  self- 
confidence  of  Brooke  that  captivated  the  timid  little  Rajah 
Muda.  who  was  not  only  unable  to  cope  with  the  Malays 
in  revolt,  but  was  afraid  of  his  neighbours,  the  Dutch,  lest 
they  should  make  the  disturbances  an  excuse  for  intervention 
and  annexation,  and  he  hoped  in  his  extremity  to  obtain 
some  help  from  the  British. 

"  Which  is  the  cat  and  which  is  the  mouse  ? "  he  asked 
in  reference  to  the  rival  powers.  "  Britain  is  unquestionably 
the  mouser,"  replied  Brooke.  But  he  did  not  add  that  the 
mouser  was  so  gorged  and  lazy  as  only  occasionally  to  stretch 
forth  a  paw. 

Mr.  Brooke  bade  his  friends  good-bye  on  September  20, 
after  having  received  a  pressing  invitation  from  the  Rajah 
Muda  to  revisit  him,  and  he  begged  Brooke  not  to  forget 
him.  Leaving  the  Royalist  at  Muaratebas,  Brooke  visited 
the  Sadong  river,  where  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  Sherip 
Sahap,1  a  powerful   half-bred   Arab  chief  and   ruler  of  that 

1   Spelt  Sahib  by  Mr.  Brooke  in  his  letters  and  journals,  and  by  others,  but  correctly 


THE   MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  67 

river,  who  in  later  days  was  to  give  Brooke  so  much  trouble. 
He  returned  to  the  Royalist  on  the  27th,  and  intended  to 
sail  the  next  morning,  but  was  delayed  by  a  startling 
incident  that  gave  him  his  first  experience  of  the  piratical 
habits  of  the  Saribas  Dayaks.  The  boat  of  Penglima  Rajah 
(the  Rajah's  captain),  who  was  to  pilot  the  Royalist  over  the 
bar,  and  which  was  lying  inshore  of  the  yacht,  was  attacked 
in  the  middle  of  the  night,  but  the  report  of  a  gun  and  the 
display  of  a  blue  light  from  the  yacht  caused  the  Dayaks  to 
decamp  hurriedly,  though  not  before  they  had  seriously 
wounded  the  Penglima  and  three  of  his  crew.  Mr.  Brooke 
waited  until  the  wounded  were  sufficiently  recovered  to  be 
sent  to  Kuching,  and,  after  he  had  paid  a  flying  visit  to  that 
place  at  the  urgent  request  of  the  Rajah,  sailed  for  Singapore 
on  October  3. 

The  history  of  his  late  cruise,  to  quote  Mr.  Brooke,  had 
agitated  the  society  in  Singapore,  and  whilst  the  merchants 
presented  him  with  an  address  of  thanks,  the  Governor 
became  cooler  towards  him.  The  former  foresaw  an  access 
of  trade,  the  latter  was  nervous  of  political  embarrassments. 

He  would  fain  have  me  lay  aside  all  politics,  but  whilst  I  see 
such  treachery  and  baseness  on  one  part  (the  Dutch),  and  such 
weakness,  imbecility,  and  indifference  on  the  other  (the  English), 
I  will  continue  to  upraise  my  voice  at  fitting  seasons.  I  will  not 
leave  my  native  friends  to  be  deceived  and  betrayed  by  either  white 
nation,  and  (what  the  governor  does  not  like)  I  will  speak  bold 
truths  to  native  ears. 

The  Dutch  trading  regulations  weighed  on  this  island 
as  they  did  on  all  others  within  their  influence.  Sir 
Stamford  Raffles,  in  his  History  of  Java,  1830,  tells  us  that 
by  an  edict  of  1767,  trading  in  opium,  pepper,  and  all 
spices  was  prohibited  in  the  Archipelago  to  all  persons 
under  pain  of  death,  and  other  severe  penalties  were  imposed 
upon  those  trading  in  other  commodities.  The  quantity 
of  gunpowder  and  shot  that  might  be  carried  by  any  vessel 
was  restricted,  and  the  punishment  for  carrying  more  than 
was  permitted  was  the  confiscation  of  the  vessel  and  corporal 

his  name  was  Sahap.  He  had  a  reputation  for  bravery,  and  was  styled  by  the  Sek- 
rang  Dayaks  "  Bujang  Brani,"  the  brave  man. 


6S  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

punishment.  Vessels  were  not  allowed  to  sail  from  any 
part  of  the  Java  coast  where  there  was  not  a  Company's 
Resident.  Those  from  Ranka  and  Beliton  could  only 
trade  to  Palembang  (Sumatra).  Navigation  from  Celebes 
and  Sumbawa  was  prohibited  under  pain  of  confiscation 
of  vessel  and  cargo.  The  China  junks  were  permitted  to 
trade  at  Batavia  and  Banjermasin  alone.  In  all  there  were 
thirty-one  articles  of  restriction,  "  serving  to  shackle  every 
movement  of  commerce,  and  to  extinguish  every  spirit  of 
enterprise,  for  the  narrow,  selfish  purposes  of  what  may  be 
called  the  fanaticism  of  gain.''  The  consequence  was  that 
honest  traffic  was  paralysed,  and  an  opportunity  and  in- 
direct encouragement  given  to  piracy.  Indeed,  the  Dutch 
winked  at  this  as  it  hampered  smuggling  by  European  and 
native  traders.  They  resented  it  only  when  their  own  trade 
was  interfered  with  by  the  marauders. 

After  visiting  the  Celebes,  where  he  spent  four  months, 
Mr.  Brooke  sailed  for  Sarawak  from  Singapore  on  August 
1 8,  1840.  His  kindly  feeling  for  the  Rajah  Muda  Hasim 
prompted  him  to  pay  another  visit  to  Sarawak,  taking  it 
on  his  way  to  Manila  and  China.  He  found  the  condition 
of  the  country  as  distracted  as  ever,  "  with  no  probability 
of  any  termination  of  a  state  of  affairs  so  adverse  to  every 
object  which  I  had  in  view,"  and  so  decided  to  quit  the 
scene  and  proceed  on  his  voyage.  On  notifying  his 
departure  to  the  Rajah,  he  was  urgently  pressed  to  remain  ; 
every  topic  was  exhausted  to  excite  his  compassion.  The 
Rajah  laid  his  difficulties  before  him,  and  expressed  "  his 
resolution  to  die  here  rather  than  abandon  his  undertaking 
— to  die  deserted  and  disgraced  "  ;  and  it  was  compassion 
for  his  miserable  situation  that  induced  Mr.  Brooke  to  alter 
his  intention. 

The  rebellion  had  lasted  for  nearly  four  years,  and  for 
the  efforts  made  to  quell  it  might  well  last  for  a  century, 
and  the  whole  country,  except  Kuching,  become  independent. 
Starvation  had  compelled  many  of  the  Land-Dayaks  to 
submit,  but  that  was  the  only  advantage  that  had  been 
gained.  Hasim  was  in  ill  odour  at  Bruni  because  he  had 
effected   nothing,   and   the  Orang  Kaya  di  Gadong,  a  Bruni 


THE  MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  6g 

minister,  had  been  sent  by  the  Sultan  to  stir  him  up  to 
greater  activity.  But  how  to  exert  himself,  how  with 
cowardly  pangirans  to  come  to  close  quarters  with  the 
rebels  he  could  not  see,  and  in  his  helplessness  and  dis- 
couragement he  caught  at  the  opportunity  offered  by  the 
arrival  of  Brooke. 

With  some  reluctance  Mr.  Brooke  consented  to  assist 
Hasim  against  the  insurgents,  and  proceeded  to  Siniawan  ; 
but  after  having  been  up-river  a  short  time  he  returned 
to  Kuching,  disgusted  by  the  supineness  and  inert- 
ness of  Makota  and  the  other  leaders,  and  announced 
his  intention  of  sailing  for  Manila.  Hasim  saw  that 
Brooke's  departure  would  deprive  him  of  his  last  chance 
of  reducing  the  rebels,  and  that  he  would  have  to  return  to 
Bruni  in  disgrace.  Again  he  urged  Brooke  to  stay,  and 
he  offered  him  the  country  if  he  would  return  up-river  and 
take  command  of  his  forces.  "  He  offered  me,"  wrote 
Brooke,  "  the  country  of  Siniawan  and  Sarawak,  with  its 
government  and  trade  ; "  in  addition  he  offered  to  grant 
him  the  title  of  Rajah. 

Hasim  had  been  placed  in  Sarawak  for  a  purpose, 
which  he  was  wholly  unable  to  effect ;  as  he  was  heir- 
presumptive  *  to  the  throne  of  Bruni,  he  was  impatient  at 
what  he  considered  his  exile  from  the  capital.  Could  the 
insurrection  be  subdued  he  would  be  re-instated  in  the 
favour  of  his  nephew,  and  might  return  to  Bruni  to  defeat  the 
machinations  of  his  enemies  there,  leaving  the  government 
of  Sarawak  in  the  strong  hands  of  Brooke. 

Mr.  Brooke  hesitated  for  some  time,  as  the  offer 
had    been    imposed    by  necessity,    but    finally    agreed,    and 

1  There  is  no  strict  law  of  primogeniture  in  Bruni,  otherwise  Rajah  Muda  Hasim 
could  not  have  been  heir-presumptive.  As  he  was  of  royal  blood,  and  the  prince 
most  fitted  to  succeed,  he  was  looked  upon  as  the  heir  to  the  throne,  and  was  so 
acknowledged  (publicly  in  1846)  by  the  Sultan,  and  was  therefore  more  correctly 
heir-apparent.  At  this  time  Sultan  Omar  Ali  had  two  sons,  and  the  eldest,  also 
named  Hasim,  must  have  been  about  thirty-five  years  of  age.  There  was  a  disgrace- 
ful harem  scandal  in  connection  with  their  birth,  which  pointed  to  their  having  been  the 
sons  of  a  Nakoda,  or  merchant.  Though  this  appears  to  have  been  generally  credited, 
Hasim  nevertheless  became  the  24th  Sultan  in  1885. 

It  may  be  noted  here  that  Omar  Ali  himself  was  only  de  facto  Sultan,  as  he 
was  never  able  to  obtain  the  legal  investiture  which  in  Bruni  constitutes  an  election 
to  the  throne  de  jure,  and  which  confers  upon  the  sovereign  the  title  of  Iang  de 
Pertuan,  the  Lord  who  rules,  the  most  exalted  title,  and  one  which  he  never  assumed. 


70  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

promised  the  assistance  required.  With  ten  of  his  English 
crew  and  two  guns,  he  joined  the  Rajah's  mixed  force 
of  Malays,  Dayaks,  and  Chinese,  and  proceeded  against 
the  insurgents.  As  was  their  wont,  the  pangirans  in 
command  hung  back  and  would  not  expose  their  precious 
persons  to  danger,  with  the  notable  exception  of  the 
Pangiran  Bedrudin,  half-brother  to  the  Rajah  Muda  Hasim. 
This  was  Brooke's  first  meeting  with  Bedrudin.  He 
was  greatly  impressed  with  his  frank  but  overawing  and 
stately  demeanour,  and  a  warm  friendship  soon  sprang  up 
between  them,  which  lasted  until  the  death  of  this  ill-fated 
prince,  who  justly  earned  a  reputation  for  bravery  and 
constancy,  the  only  one  of  the  royal  princes  of  Brum'  in 
whom  these  qualities  were  combined. 

To  Mr.  Brooke's  regret,  Bedrudin  was  shortly  withdrawn 
by  his  brother,  and  the  other  pangirans,  led  by  Makota, 
thwarted  him  in  every  forward  movement,  to  disguise  their 
own  cowardice.  Finally,  after  several  bloodless  engagements 
and  bombardments,  communication  was  opened  with  Sherip 
Mat  Husain,1  one  of  the  rebel  leaders,  and  he  came  to  see 
Mr.  Brooke  under  a  flag  of  truce,  which  would  have  received 
little  respect  had  it  not  been  for  the  stern  measures  taken 
by  the  latter.  This  meeting  led  to  an  interview  between 
the  Malay  rebel  chiefs  and  Mr.  Brooke,  and  they  submitted, 
but  only  on  the  understanding  that  Brooke  was  henceforth 
to  be  the  Rajah,  and  that  he  would  restrain  the  oppression 
of  the  pangirans.  On  these  terms  they  laid  down  their  arms, 
and  then  it  was  with  great  difficulty  that  Brooke  succeeded 
in  wringing  from  the  Rajah  Muda  a  consent  that  their  lives 
should  be  spared,  and  that  consent  was  only  reluctantly  given 
on  Brooke  rising  up  to  bid  the  Rajah  Muda  farewell  ;  but 
the  wives  and  children  of  the  principal  chiefs,  to  the  number 
of  over  one  hundred,  were  taken  from  them  by  Hasim  as 
hostages.  They  "  were  treated  with  kindness  and  preserved 
from  injury  or  wrong."  ~ 

Some  delay  ensued  in  the  investiture  of  Brooke  with  the 

1  Or  an  abbreviation  of  Muhammad  Husain.  In  former  works  he  is  incorrectly 
styled  Moksain  (for  Matsaini,  following  Mr.  Brooke's  published  letters  and  journals, 
which  were  badly  edited  in  regard  to  native  names  and  words. 

2  Mr.  Brooke. 


THE   MAKING   OF  SARAWAK  71 

governorship.  Hasim  was  disposed  to  shuffle,  and  Makota, 
who  feared  his  exactions  would  be  interfered  with,  used  all 
his  power  to  prevent  it.  Hoping  it  would  content  Brooke, 
the  Rajah  Muda  had  drawn  up  an  agreement  which  was  only 
to  the  purport  that  he  was  to  reside  in  Sarawak  in  order  to 
seek  for  profit,  an  agreement  which  the  Rajah  Muda  explained 
was  merely  to  be  shown  to  the  Sultan  in  the  first  place,  and 
that  it  was  not  intended  as  a  substitute  for  that  which 
had  been  agreed  upon  between  themselves,  and  would  be 
granted  in  due  course.  Hasim  was  between  two  stools  :  his 
duty  in  respect  to  his  promise  to  Brooke,  whose  friendship  and 
support  were  necessary  to  him  ;  and  his  fear  of  the  party  led 
by  Makota  in  Sarawak,  but  still  more  powerfully  represented 
in  Bruni,  who  foresaw,  as  well  as  he  did  himself,  the  end 
of  their  rule  of  tyranny  if  once  such  an  advocate  for  reform 
as  Mr.  Brooke  were  allowed  to  gather  up  the  reins  of  power. 

Brooke  accepted  this  equivocal  arrangement,  and,  trusting 
in  the  Rajah  Muda's  good  faith,  to  establish  trade  and  com- 
munication with  Singapore,  went  to  the  expense  of  buying 
and  freighting  the  schooner  Swift  of  ninety  tons  with  a 
general  cargo.  On  her  arrival  from  Singapore  the  Rajah 
Muda  took  over  the  whole  cargo,  promising  antimony  ore  in 
exchange,  but  this  promise  also  he  showed  no  intention 
of  fulfilling — in  fact  it  never  was  fulfilled.  After  this  cargo 
had  been  obtained  the  Rajah  Muda  became  cool  to  Brooke, 
evaded  all  discussion  about  the  settlement  of  the  country, 
and  even  went  so  far  as  to  deny  that  he  had  ever  made  the 
unsolicited  promise  to  transfer  the  government  to  him  ;  and 
a  plot  was  attempted  to  involve  him  in  a  dispute  with  the 
Dutch  at  Sambas. 

To  ruin  Mr.  Brooke's  prestige  with  the  Land-Dayaks, 
Malays,  and  Chinese,  as  their  protector,  a  crafty  scheme  was 
devised  by  Makota,  to  which  he  induced  the  Rajah  to  grant 
his  consent.  He  invited  a  party  of  2500  Sea-Dayaks  from 
Sekrang  to  ascend  the  Sarawak  river  and  massacre  the 
Land-Dayaks,  Malays,  and  Chinese  in  the  interior.  They 
arrived  at  Kuching,  and,  with  the  addition  of  a  number 
of  Malays  as  guides,  started  up  the  river.  But  Brooke, 
highly  incensed,  retired  to  the  Royalist,  and   at  once  pre- 


72  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

pared  that  vessel  and  the  Swift  for  action.  This  had  the 
desired  effect.  Hasim  was  cowed  ;  "  he  denied  all  know- 
ledge of  it  ;  but  the  knowledge  was  no  less  certain,  and  the 
measure  his  own."  ]  He  threw  the  blame  on  Makota,  and, 
yielding  to  Brooke's  insistence,  sent  a  messenger  up  river 
after  the  fleet  to  recall  it, — a  command  that  could  not  be 
disobeyed,  as  Brooke  held  command  of  the  route  by  which 
they  must  return.  Sulkily  and  resentfully  did  the  Sekrang 
Dayaks  return,  without  heads,  and  without  plunder.  And 
for  Makota  it  was  a  case  of  the  biter  bit,  as  he  had  un- 
wittingly enhanced  Brooke's  prestige.  The  oppressed  people 
now  learnt  that  Brooke  was  not  only  determined  to  protect 
them,  but  that  he  had  the  power  to  do  it — a  power  greater 
than  Makota's  ;  and  this  strengthened  his  hands,  for  many 
who  had  wavered  through  doubt  on  this  point  and  fear  of 
Makota,  now  threw  in  their  lot  with  him,  as  Makota  was 
shortly  to  discover  to  his  cost. 

"The  very  idea,"  wrote  Brooke  in  his  Journal,  "of  letting 
2500  wild  devils  loose  in  the  interior  of  the  country  is  horrible. 
What  object  can  the  Malays  2  have  in  destroying  their  own  country 
and  people  so  wantonly  ?  The  Malays  take  part  in  these  excursions, 
and  thirty  men  joined  the  Sekrangs  on  the  present  occasion,  and 
consequently  they  share  the  plunder,  and  share  largely.  Probably 
Muda  Hasim  would  have  twenty  slaves  (women  and  children),  and 
these  twenty  being  redeemed  at  the  low  rate  of  twenty  reals  each 
makes  400  reals,  besides  other  plunder  amounting  to  one  or  two  hun- 
dred reals  more.     Inferior  pangirans  would,  of  course,  take  likewise." 

Mr.  Brooke  had  now  been  put  off  for  five  months,  and 
for  six  weeks  had  withdrawn  from  all  intercourse  with 
Rajah  Muda  Hasim.  As  he  wrote,  "  I  have  done  this  man 
many  benefits  ;  and,  if  he  prove  false  after  all  his  promises, 
I  will  put  that  mark  of  shame  upon  him  that  death  would  be 
lighter."  This  was  no  idle  threat,  for  he  sent  a  final  demand 
to  the  Rajah  Muda  either  to  perform  his  promise  or  to  repay 
him  all  his  outlay,  and  a  warning  that  should  Hasim  do 
neither  he  would  take  sure  means  to  make  him  ;  and  the 
means  were  at  hand,  for  on  his  return  from  Singapore  Mr. 
Brooke  had  found  the  people  of  Sarawak  again  at  issue  with 

1    Mr.  Brooke.  -  The  Brum,  not  the  Sarawak  Malays. 


THE   MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  73 

their  ruler,  and  had  once  more  thrown  off  their  allegiance 
to  the  Sultan.  They  then  offered  him  that  allegiance, 
and  their  support  to  drive  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  and  his 
followers  out  of  the  country  ;  this  offer  was,  however, 
declined.  But  a  circumstance  occurred  that  precipitated 
matters.  Makota  attempted  to  poison  Brooke's  interpreter 
by  mixing  arsenic  with  his  rice.  Through  the  indiscretion  of 
a  subordinate  the  plot  was  discovered,  and  Brooke  immediately 
laid  the  facts  before  the  Rajah  Muda,  as  well  as  "  a  little 
treasury  "  of  grievances  and  crimes  against  Makota,  and  de- 
manded an  inquiry.  "  The  demand,  as  usual,  was  met  by 
vague  promises  of  future  investigation,  and  Makota  seemed  to 
triumph  in  the  success  of  his  villainy,  but  the  moment  for 
action  had  now  arrived,  and  my  conscience  told  me  that  I 
was  bound  no  longer  to  submit  to  such  injustice,  and  I  was 
resolved  to  test  the  strength  of  our  respective  parties." 
The  Royalists  guns  were  loaded,  and  her  broadside  brought 
to  bear,  and  Mr.  Brooke  landed  with  a  small  armed  party. 
He  demanded  and  immediately  obtained  an  audience,  and 
pointed  out  Makota's  tyranny  and  oppression  of  all  classes, 
and  his  determination  to  attack  him,  and  drive  him  out  of 
the  country.  Not  a  single  man  upheld  Makota,  whilst  the 
Malays  rallied  around  Mr.  Brooke.  This  was  a  test  of  public 
opinion  to  which  Makota  had  to  bow,  and  he  was  deposed 
from  his  governorship.  Mr.  Brooke's  public  installation 
immediately  followed,  the  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  informing 
the  people  that  he  was  henceforth  to  rule  over  them.  On 
the  24th  of  September,  1841,  a  memorable  day  in  the  history 
not  only  of  Sarawak  but  of  the  whole  of  North-Western 
Borneo,  he  was  declared  Rajah  and  Governor  of  Sarawak, 
amidst  the  roar  of  cannon  and  a  general  display  of  flags  and 
banners  on  the  shore  and  the  vessels  on  the  river.2 

On  that  day  he  became  Rajah  of  Sarawak,  though  a 
feudatory  Rajah,  a  position  which  he  was  not  content  to 
hold  for  long,  as  such  a  position  would  have  proved 
untenable. 

Sarawak  was  then  of  very  limited  extent  ;  it  was  a  little 
governorship  extending  from  Cape  Datu  to  the  mouth  of  the 

1  Mr.  Brooke.  2  Idem. 


'\ 


74  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

Sadong,  and  included,  besides  smaller  streams,  the  Lundu, 
Sarawak,  and  Samarahan  rivers  ;  and  this  district,  about 
3000  square  miles  in  area,  is,  with  the  inclusion  of  the 
Sadong  river,  now  known  as  Sarawak  Proper.  In  the  days 
of  Hasim  Sarawak  was  not  a  raj,  but  a  province  under  a 
governor.  Hasim  was  not  actually  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak, 
though  his  high  birth  gave  him  the  right  to  the  courtesy  title 
of  Rajah.  His  real  title  was  the  Pangiran  Muda  ; *  Muda 
is  inseparable  from  the  title,  and  was  not  a  part  of  his  name. 
Pangiran  Muda,  the  heir  to  the  throne,  is  the  correct  Bruni 
title.  Rajah  Muda  (young  Rajah)  also  means  heir-apparent. 
The  districts  from  Sarawak  up  to  Bintulu,  and  beyond, 
formed  separate  provinces,  and  were  under  separate  governors, 
but  Hasim's  high  rank  naturally  gave  him  some  influence 
over  these  officials.  Sadong  was  governed  by  Sherip 
Sahap,  his  subjects  being  Land-Dayaks  ;  his  power,  how- 
ever, extended  to  the  head  of  that  river.  Sherip  Japar  of 
Lingga,  Sherip  Mular  of  Sekrang,  and  Sherip  Masahor  of 
Serikei,  held  nominal  authority  only  over  the  main  population 
of  their  respective  districts  occupied  by  the  Sea-Dayaks,  for 
these  people  acknowledged  no  government,  and  lived  in 
independence  even  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Malays.  Such, 
moreover,  was  the  case  with  the  Saribas,  which  was  nominally 
governed  by  Malay  chiefs.  The  districts  of  Muka,  Oya,  and 
Bintulu  were  under  Bruni  pangirans,  but,  having  only 
Melanaus  to  govern,  their  control  was  complete.  In  the 
Baram,  a  river  inhabited  by  warlike  Kayans  and  Kenyahs, 
the  Malays,  nominal  rulers  and  traders,  lived  on  sufferance 
alone,  and  so  it  was  in  the  Sea-Dayak  countries  of  the 
Batang  Lupar,  Saribas,  and  Rejang.  Over  the  Malays,  the 
Land-Dayaks,  and  the  Melanaus,  the  Bruni  Government  had 
power — the  Sea-Dayaks  and  Kayans  scorned  it.  The 
sherips,  as  the  title  denotes,  are  of  Arab  origin,  and  they 
claim  descent  from  the  Prophet.  They  are  half-breeds,  and 
were  dangerous  men.  Earl,  in  his  Eastern  Seas,  1837, 
says  : — 

1  By  which  he  was  generally  referred  to,  both  in  documents  and  verbally,  by  tin- 
Malays  of  Bruni  and  Sarawak.  "Rajah  of  Sarawak  "  was  a  complimentary  title 
given  to  him  by  Europeans  only.  He  has  been  frequently  styled  MnJii  Hasim  by 
former  writers  ;   this  would  be  unintelligible  to  a  Malay. 


THE   MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  75 

"  The  pirates  who  infest  the  Archipelago  consist  wholly  of  the 
free  Mahomedan  states  in  Sumatra,  Lingin,  Borneo,  Magindano, 
and  Sulu  (and  he  should  have  added  of  the  Malay  Peninsula), 
those  natives  who  have  remained  uncontaminated  by  the  detest- 
able doctrines  of  the  Arabs,  never  being  known  to  engage  in  like 
pursuits." 

Again  : — 

The  genuine  Arabs  are  often  high-minded,  enterprising  men, 
but  their  half-caste  descendants  who  swarm  in  the  Archipelago  com- 
prise the  most  despicable  set  of  wretches  in  existence.  Under  the 
name  of  religion  they  have  introduced  among  the  natives  the  vilest 
system  of  intolerance  and  wickedness  imaginable  ;  and  those  places 
in  which  they  have  gained  an  ascendency  x  are  invariably  converted 
into  dens  of  infamy  and  piracy. 

Sir  Stamford  Raffles  says  "  they  are  commonly  nothing 
better  than  manumitted  slaves,  and  they  hold  like  robbers 
the  offices  they  obtain  as  sycophants,  and  cover  all  with  the 
sanctimonious  veil  of  religious  hypocrisy." 

And  such  were  the  sherips  of  Borneo  with  whom  the 
English  Rajah  had  to  deal,  and  whose  power  he  eventually 
broke.  There  are  many  of  these  to  this  day  in  Sarawak, 
but  they  have  been  converted  into  harmless  members  of  the 
community,  and  some  have  been  good  Government  officials, 
notably  Sherip  Putra,  who  died  in  June,  1906,  after  having 
served  the  Government  well  and  faithfully  for  twenty-two 
years  ;  and  he  was  the  son  of  Sherip  Sahap,  and  the  nephew 
of  Sherip  Mular. 

The  condition  of  the  country  on  Rajah  Brooke's  accession 
is  best  described  in  his  own  words.  After  relating  the 
devastations  committed  by  the  piratical  and  head-hunting 
Dayaks  of  Saribas  and  Sekrang,  the  Rajah  goes  on  to  say  : — 

It  is  of  the  hill  Dayaks,2  however,  I  would  particularly  write,  for  a 
more  wretched,  oppressed  race  is  not  to  be  found,  or  one  more 
deserving  the  commiseration  of  the  humane.  Though  industrious 
they  never  reap  what  they  sow  ;  though  their  country  is  rich  in 
produce,  they  are  obliged  to  yield  it  all  to  their  oppressors  ;  though 

1  Such  was  this  ascendency  that  they  became  the  founders  of  the  present  ruling 
dynasties  of  Bruni  (Chap.  II.,  p.  i),  Palembang  (Sumatra),  Pontianak,  Sambas, 
Mindanau,  and  Sulu,  and  probably  of  other  native  states. 

8  Land-Davaks. 


76 


A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 


yielding  all  beyond  their  bare  sustenance,  they  rarely  can  preserve 
half  their  children,  and  often — too  often — are  robbed  of  them  all, 
with  their  wives.1  All  that  rapacity  and  oppression  can  effect  is 
exhausted,  and  the  only  happiness  that  ever  falls  to  the  lot  of  these 
unhappy  tribes  is  getting  one  tyrant  instead  of  five  thousand.  Indeed, 
it  is  quite  useless  to  try  to  explain  the  miserable  condition  of  this 
country,  where  for  the  last  ten  years  there  has  been  no  government ; 
where  intrigue  and  plunder  form  the  occupation  of  all  the  higher 
classes  ;  where  a  poor  man  to  possess  beyond  his  clothes  is  a  crime ; 
where   lying   is   a  virtue,   religion   dead,  and  where   cheating  is  so 


LAND-DAVAK    VILLAGE. 

common  ;   and  last,  where  the  ruler,  Muda  Hasim,  is  so  weak,  that 
he  has  lost  all  authority  except  in  name  and  observance. 

And  further  : — 

All  those  who  frequent  the  sea-shore  lead  a  life  of  constant  per 
from   roving    Dayaks   and   treacherous    Malays,    and    Illanuns  and 
Balaninis,  the  regular  pirates.      It  is  a  life  of  watchfulness,  hide-and- 
seek,  and  fight  or  flight,  and  in  the  course  of  each  year  many  lose 
their  lives  or  their  liberty. 

This  is  the  country  I  have  taken  upon  myself  to  govern  with 


1  Shortly  before  Rajah  Brooke's  arrival,  Sherip  Sahap  with  a  large  force  of  Sekrang 
Dayaks  had  attacked  the  Sau  tribe  <>(  Land-Dayaks  in  Upper  Sarawak.     Man) 
killed,  thru-  villages  plundered  and  burnt,  and  nearly  all  the  surviving  women  and 
children,  t<>  tin-  number  of  some  t\\<>  hundred  and  fifty,  carried  >>m  into  slavery.     'The 
itually  re<  overed  neatly  all. 


THE   MAKING   OF  SARAWAK  77 

small  means,  few  men,  and,  in  short,  without  any  of  the  requisites 
which  could  insure  success  ;  I  have  distraction  within  and  intrigue 
abroad,  and  I  have  the  weakest  of  the  weak,1  a  rotten  staff  to  depend 
upon  for  my  authority. 

To  add  to  his  troubles,  the  season  was  one  of  famine 
following  on  intestine  troubles.  So  poor  were  the  people,  that, 
again  to  quote  the  Rajah  :  "  daily,  poor  wretches  in  the  last 
stage  of  starvation  float  down  the  river,  and  crawl  to  my 
house  to  beg  a  little,  little  rice." 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  Rajah  was  to  obtain  the 
return  to  their  families  of  the  women  and  children  of  the 
late  rebel  Malay  chiefs,  who  had  been  detained  by  Hasim 
now  for  nine  months.  He  then  recalled  the  Sarawak  Malays, 
who,  after  submission  to  Hasim,  had  retired  with  their  chiefs 
to  distant  parts,  not  trusting  the  good  faith  of  their  Malay 
Rajah  and  his  right-hand  man,  Makota.  The  Bruni  datus 
appointed  by  the  former  Governor  were  displaced,  and  the 
old  Sarawak  Malay  datus,  who  had  been  in  rebellion  against 
the  Bruni  Government,  and  who  owed  their  lives  to  Rajah 
Brooke's  intercession,  were  reinstated,  and  in  their  families 
the  offices  remain  to  this  day.  Who  these  chiefs  were  at 
that  time  there  seems  to  exist  some  doubt,  with  the  exception 
of  the  premier  datu,  the  Datu  Patinggi  AH,  who  fell  gallantly 
fighting  for  the  Government  three  years  after  he  had  been 
reinstated,  and  the  Datu  Temanggong  Mersal.  The  old 
Datu  Bandar,  Rancha,  had  died  before  this,  and  no  one 
appears  to  have  succeeded  him  directly,  but  Datu  Patinggi 
Ali's  son-in-law,  Haji  Abdul  Gapur,  and  his  son  Muhammad 
Lana,  evidently  held  office  of  some  kind  as  native  chiefs. 
On  the  Datu  Patinggi's  death,  Haji  Gapur  succeeded  him  in 
office,  and  Muhammad  Lana  became  the  Datu  Bandar.  When 
Haji  Gapur  was  dismissed  in  1854,  another  son  of  the  Datu 
Patinggi  Ali,  Haji  Bua  Hasan,  was  made  the  Imaum,  and  a 
few  years  afterwards  Datu  Imaum,  but  no  one  was  then,  or 
has  since  been,  appointed  to  the  office  of  Datu  Patinggi. 

On  Muhammad  Lana's  death,  his  brother  Haji  Bua 
Hasan  became  Datu  Bandar,  and,  shortly  afterwards,  another 
relative,  Haji  Abdul  Karim,  was  appointed  Datu  Imaum,  and 

1  Meaning  Rajah  Muda  Hasim. 


;8  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

he  was  succeeded  on  his  death  in  1877  by  Haji  Muhammad 
Taim,  the  youngest  son  of  the  Datu  Patinggi  Ali.  The  Datu 
Bandar,  Haji  Bua  Hasan,  died  in  harness  in  1905,  over  one 
hundred  years  of  age,  and  has  been  succeeded  by  his  son, 
Muhammad  Kasim,  formerly  the  Datu  Muda  ;  another  son, 
Haji  Muhammad  Ali,  i.s  the  Datu  Hakim.  These  offices  are 
not  hereditary,  so  this  narration  will  show  how  well  the  family 
of  gallant  old  Patinggi  Ali,  the  direct  descendant  of  the 
original  founder  of  Sarawak,  Rajah  Jarom,  with  the  sole 
exception  of  Haji  Gapur,  have  earned  and  retained  the 
confidence  of  the  Government,  and  how  honourably  they 
have  maintained  their  position. 

The  Datu  Temanggong  Mersal  belonged  to  another 
family,  but  he  and  his  sons  were  not  the  less  staunch;  the 
eldest,  brave  Abang  Pata,  rendered  the  Government  very 
signal  services,  and  the  younger,  Muhammad  Hasan,  suc- 
ceeded his  father  as  Temanggong. 

The  only  one  who  betrayed  the  trust  reposed  in  him  was 
the  Datu  Patinggi  Haji  Gapur.  Of  him,  as  well  as  the 
others,  we  shall  hear  more  in  the  sequel. 

About  the  same  time  that  the  old  chiefs  were  reinstated 
the  Rajah  instituted  a  Court  of  Justice,  in  which  he  presided, 
and  was  assisted  in  dispensing  justice  by  the  brothers  of 
Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  and  he  promulgated  the  following  simple 
laws,  of  which  this  is  a  summary  : — 

James  Brooke,  Rajah  of  Sarawak,  makes  known  to  all  men  the 
following  regulations  : — 

1.  That    murder,  robbery,  and    other    heinous    crimes   will    be 

punished  according  to  the  written  laws  of  Borneo ; 1  and 
no  man  committing  such  offences  will  escape,  if,  after  fair 
inquiry,  he  be  found  guilty. 

2.  All  men.  whether  Malays,  Chinese,  or  Dayaks  are  permitted 

to  trade  or  to  labour  according  to  their  pleasure,  and  to 
enjoy  their  gains. 

3.  All  roads  will  be  open,  and  all  boats  coming  from  other  parts 

are  free  to  enter  the  river  and  depart  without  let  or 
hindrance. 

4.  Trade,  in  all  its  branches,  will  be  free,  with  the  exception  of 

antimony  ore,  which  the  Governor  holds  in  his  own  hands, 

1    Bruni. 


THE  MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  79 

but  which  no  person  is  forced  to  work,  and  which  will  be 
paid  for  at  a  proper  price  when  obtained. 

5.  It  is  ordered  that  no  persons  going  amongst  the  Dayaks  shall 

disturb  them  or  gain  their  goods  under  false  pretences. 
The  revenue  will  be  collected  by  the  three  Datus  bearing 
the  seal  of  the  Governor,  and  (except  this  yearly  demand 
from  the  Government)  they  are  to  give  nothing  to  any 
other  person  ;  nor  are  they  obliged  to  sell  their  goods 
except  they  please,  and  at  their  own  prices. 

6.  The   revenue   shall   be  fixed,  so   that   every  one   may  know 

certainly  how  much  he  has  to  contribute  yearly  to  support 
the  Government. 

7.  Weights  and  measures  shall  be  settled  and  money  current  in 

the  country,  and  doits  *  introduced,  that  the  poor  may 
purchase  food  cheaply. 

8.  Obedience  to  the  ordinances  will  be  strictly  enforced. 

The  Rajah's  next  step  was  to  redress  some  of  the  wrongs 
to  which  the  unhappy  people  had  been  subjected,  and  by 
ameliorating  their  condition  to  gain  their  confidence.  The 
Rajah  Muda  Hasim  and  his  brothers  were  in  his  way,  "and 
the  intriguing,  mean,  base  Brunis,  who  depended  upon  the 
support  of  the  pangirans  to  escape  punishment  when  guilty  ;"  ' 
but,  nevertheless,  at  the  end  of  the  year  he  was  able  to  write 
that  he  had  done  much  good — that  he  had  saved  the  lives  of 
many  people,  restored  many  captives  to  their  families,  and 
freed  many  slaves  from  bondage,  and  above  all,  that  he  had 
repressed  vice,  and  had  assisted  the  distressed. 

The  Rajah  had  also  to  safeguard  his  country  ;  to 
prepare  to  take  the  offensive  against  the  Malays  and 
Sea-Dayaks  of  the  Sekrang  and  Saribas  ;  and  to  guard 
against  the  plots  and  designs  of  his  neighbours  the  sherips, 
who  viewed  with  no  friendly  eye  the  establishment  of 
a  government  in  Sarawak,  having  as  its  principal  objects  the 
suppression  of  piracy  and  lawlessness.  It  was  a  menace  to 
them,  and  they  knew  it,  and  to  retain  their  power  they  were 
prepared  to  go  to  any  length.  Already  Sherip  Sahap  and  his 
brother  Sherip  Mular  had  sent  people  against  the  Sempro 
and  Sentah  Dayaks  ;  and  the  former  had  endeavoured  to 
withdraw  the  allegiance  of  the  datus  from  the  Rajah,  but  in 

1  Duit,  Malay  for  a  cent.  -  Rajah  Brooke. 


8o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

this  he  failed.  As  a  defensive  measure  the  Rajah  built  a 
fort  and  palisaded  his  little  town.  He  also  constructed 
war-boats  for  the  protection  of  the  coast,  and  to  take  the 
offensive,  which  he  saw  must  be  inevitable. 

The  Rajah  soon  showed  the  Saribas  the  power  of  his 
arm.  Thirteen  of  their  large  war-boats  appeared  off  the 
coast  on  a  piratical  cruise,  and  these  were  met  and  attacked 
by  three  of  the  Rajah's  well-armed  boats  and  driven 
back  with  heavy  loss.  Retaliation  was  threatened,  and  the 
Dayaks  prepared,  but  it  was  a  long  time  before  they  again 
appeared,  and  the  terror  of  Brooke's  name  kept  them  off 
Sarawak.  At  this  time  Sherip  Sahap  also  received  a  lesson. 
He  had  sent  a  Pangiran  Bedrudin  to  Kuching  on  a  secret 
mission,  and  the  pangiran  on  his  way  down  river  fell  in  with 
and  attacked  a  Chinese  boat,  wounding  two  of  the  crew,  one 
mortally.  The  Rajah  immediately  gave  chase,  and  after 
eight  days  came  up  with  them.  One  of  the  pangiran's  crew, 
a  Lanun  penglima,  amoked,  but  was  killed  by  the  Datu 
Patinggi  Ali  before  he  could  do  any  harm  ;  the  rest 
surrendered,  and  were  taken  to  Kuching,  where  the  pangiran, 
and  another,  a  relation  of  his,  were  executed,  and  the  crew 
imprisoned. 

A  month  later,  two  Singgi  Dayak  chiefs,  Pa  Rimbun  and 
Pa  Tumo,  for  killing  Segu  Dayaks  within  the  State,  were 
arrested  and  executed.  These  examples  showed  his  neigh- 
bours that  the  Rajah  was  determined  to  protect  his  people  ; 
and  it  showed  the  people  that  the  law  would  be  administered 
with  an  equal  and  firm  hand. 

But  as  yet  the  ratification  of  his  appointment  had  not 
been  made,  and  on  July  14th,  1842,  the  Rajah  left  for  Bruni 
to  obtain  from  the  Sultan  the  confirmation  of  his  nomination 
by  Hasim,  and  to  effect,  if  possible,  a  reconciliation  between 
the  Sultan  and  his  uncle,  as  he  was  naturally  desirous  to  get 
the  latter,  his  brothers,  and  their  Bruni  followers,  away  from 
Sarawak,  so  as  to  give  stability  to  the  Government,  and  to 
prevent  a  needless  drain  upon  the  treasury.  Another  object 
the  Rajah  had  in  view  was  to  obtain  the  release  of  about 
twenty-five  Lascars  belonging  to  an  English  ship,  the  Lord 
Melbourne*   which   had    lately   been    wrecked,    and   who   had 


THE   MAKING   OF   SARAWAK 


81 


found  their  way  to  Bruni,  where  they  were  being  detained  in 
captivity. 

As  it  happened,  another  English  ship,  the  Sultana,  had 
about  eighteen  months  previously  been  wrecked  on  the 
N.W.  coast,  struck  by  lightning,  and  the  captain,  his  wife,  two 
passengers,   one    a    lady,    and    some    English    seamen,   had 


'>      if.  I 


'*&&    '1    >. 


LAND-DAYAK    HEAD-HOUSE. 


escaped  to  Bruni  in  the  long  boat  ;  the  Lascars  had  landed 
farther  north,  and  had  been  captured  and  sold  into  slavery 
by  Sherip  Usman.  The  Sultan  seized  these  unfortunate 
people,  and  robbed  them  of  their  money,  some  jewels,  and 
their  boat.  He  further  compelled  them  to  sign  bonds  to 
himself  for  considerable  sums  of  money,  and  he  had  treated 
them  with  harshness  and  inhumanity. 

On  hearing  of  this   Mr.  Brooke  had  sent  his  yacht,  the 
Royalist,  to  Bruni  to  obtain  their  release,  but  this  had  been 

G 


82  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

refused  by  the  Sultan,  and  then  he  communicated  with 
Singapore.  The  East  India  Company's  Steamer  Diana  was 
despatched  to  Bruni,  ran  up  the  river  and  pointed  its  guns  on 
the  palace.  The  Sultan  was  so  thoroughly  alarmed  that  he 
surrendered  the  captives,  after  a  detention  of  eight  months, 
and  the  dread  of  the  "  fire-ship  "  remained  on  him,  so  that 
when  the  Rajah  arrived  he  was  in  a  compliant  mood,  and 
received  him  most  cordially. 

It  may  be  as  well  here  to  give  a  description  of  Bruni 
and  of  its  Court. 

The  Bruni  river  flows  into  a  noble  bay,  across  which  to 
the  north  lies  the  island  of  Labuan.  Above  the  town  the 
river  is  very  small,  and  rises  but  some  fifteen  to  twenty 
miles  inland.  Where  the  town  is,  the  river  is  very  broad, 
forming  a  large  lake.  The  town  is  commanded  by  hills 
once  under  cultivation  ;  on  an  island  at  the  mouth  of  the 
entrance  are  the  shattered  remains  of  an  old  Portuguese  fort, 
which  was  still  standing,  though  ruinous,  when  Hunt  visited 
the  place  in  1 809.  The  town  itself  has  been  designated 
the  "  Venice  of  Borneo "  by  old  writers,  a  description  to 
which  the  Italian  Beccari  rightly  objected,1  and  is  mainly 
built  on  piles  driven  into  the  mud  on  a  shallow  in  the 
middle  of  the  lake,  the  houses  occupying  wooden  plat- 
forms elevated  some  ten  feet  above  the  reach  of  the  tide. 
Communication  between  them  is  effected  by  canoes,  in 
which  the  women  daily  go  through  the  town  selling 
provisions.  It  is,  in  a  word,  similar  to  the  palafitte 
villages  found  in  prehistoric  times  in  the  lakes  of  Switzer- 
land and  Lombardy.  A  part  of  the  town,  including  the 
houses  of  the  Sultan  and  the  wazirs,  is  situated  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  river.  It  is  the  Bruni  of  Pigafetta's  time, 
though  sadly  reduced  in  size  and  importance.  Then  the 
Sultan's   palace  was   enclosed   by  a  strong  brick  wall,-'  with 

1  "  I  admit  that  Bruni  has  its  points,  but  what  irony  to  compare  for  a  moment 
the  city  of  marble  palaces  with  the  mass  of  miserable  huts  which  a  single  match 
could  easily  reduce  to  ashes." — Beccari,  op.  cil.  The  Rajah  tailed  the  place  a 
■  •  Venice  of  hovels."  Mercator  in  his  Atlas  describes  it  as  "  bein.L;  situated  on  a  salt- 
water lagoon  like  Venice,"  hence  probably  it  became  known  as  tin-  Venice  of  Borneo. 

-  Kota  batu,  stone  fort.  The  name  still  inn, mis.  it  was  built  towards  the 
close  of  the  fifteenth  century  by  Sherip  Ali,  the  first  Arab  Sultan,  with  the  aid  of  the 
Chinese  subjects  his  wife's  mother  had  brought  to  Bruni.     The  city  was  then  m 


THE   MAKING   OF  SARAWAK  83 

barbicans  mounting  fifty-six  cannon,  now  it  is  but  a  roughly 
built  barn-like  shed.  Gone  are  the  richly  caparisoned 
elephants,  and  gone  too  is  all  the  old  pride,  pomp,  and 
panoply,  including  the  spoons  of  gold,  which  particularly 
struck  the  old  voyager.1  Bruni  has  no  defences  now,  but,  at 
the  period  of  which  we  are  writing,  there  were  batteries 
planted  on  each  side  of  the  inlet  commanding  the  approach, 
also  two  forts  on  the  heights,  and  one  battery  on  a  tongue 
of  land  that  looked  down  the  estuary,  and  which  could  rake 
a  fleet  advancing  towards  the  town,  whilst  the  batteries 
on  the  two  banks  poured  in  a  flank  fire. 

When  the  tide  goes  out  the  mud  is  most  offensive  to 
European  nostrils,  as  all  the  filth  and  offal  is  cast  into  it 
from  the  platforms,  and  left  there  to  decompose.  The  town 
at  the  time  of  the  Rajah's  visit,  was  in  a  condition  of  squalid 
wretchedness — the  buildings,  all  of  wood  and  leaf  matting, 
were  in  a  tumbledown  state  ;  and  the  population  was  mainly 
composed  of  slaves  and  the  hangers  on  of  the  Sultan,  the 
nobles,  and  other  members  of  the  upper  classes.  The  Sultan 
was  a  man  past  fifty  years  of  age,  short  and  puffy  in  person, 
with  a  countenance  indicative  of  imbecility.  In  his  journal 
the  Rajah  wrote  : 

His  right  hand  is  garnished  with  an  extra  diminutive  thumb, 
the  natural  member  being  crooked  and  distorted.2  His  mind,  in- 
dexed by  his  face,  seems  to  be  a  chaos  of  confusion,  without 
dignity  and  without  good  sense.  He  can  neither  read  nor  write,  is 
guided  by  the  last  speaker  ;  and  his  advisers,  as  might  be  expected, 
are  of  the  lower  order,  and  mischievous  from  their  ignorance  and 
their  greediness.      He  is  always  talking,  and  generally  joking  ;  and 

the  mouth  of  the  river.  It  was  moved  to  its  present  position  by  Sultan  Muadin 
about  200  years  ago. 

1  Magellan,  Haklnyt  Society,  and  the  Portuguese  Jorge  de  Menezes,  who  visited 
Bruni  five  years  after  Pigafetta,  notices  that  the  city  was  surrounded  with  a  wall  of 
brick,  and  possessed  some  noble  edifices.  Other  early  voyagers  describe  the  sultans 
and  rulers  of  Malayan  States  as  maintaining  great  style,  and  their  equipments, — 
such  as  swords  of  state,  saddles,  chairs,  eating  and  drinking  utensils — as  being  of  pure 
gold.  Allowing  for  some  exaggeration,  this  would  still  point  to  a  former  condition  of 
prosperity  which  enabled  rulers  and  nobles  to  keep  up  a  pageantry  which  has  long 
since  vanished. 

-  This  malformation,  according  to  the  laws  of  Bruni,  would  have  disqualified  him 
for  the  throne,  for  these  provide  that  no  person  in  any  way  imbecile  in  mind  or  de- 
formed in  person  can  enjoy  the  regal  dignity,  whatever  title  to  it  his  birth  might 
have  given  him. — Sir  Hugh  Low,  op.  cit.  p.  108. 


84  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  most  serious  subjects  never  meet  with  five  minutes'  consecutive 
attention.  His  rapacity  is  carried  to  such  an  excess  as  to  astonish 
a  European,  and  is  evinced  in  a  thousand  mean  ways.  The  presents 
I  made  him  were  unquestionably  handsome,  but  he  was  not  content 
without  begging  from  me  the  share  I  had  reserved  for  the  other 
pangirans  ;  and  afterwards  solicited  mere  trifles  such  as  sugar,  pen- 
knives, and  the  like.  To  crown  all  he  was  incessantly  asking  what 
was  left  in  the  vessel,  and  when  told  the  truth — that  I  was  stripped 
bare  as  a  tree  in  winter — he  frequently  returned  to  the  charge. 

The  Court  at  Bruni  consisted  of  the  Pangiran  Mumin, 
the  Sultan's  uncle  by  marriage,  a  fairly  well-disposed  man, 
though  a  friend  of  Makota,  but  of  no  ability,  avaricious,  and 
with  the  mind  of  a  huckster,  who  afterwards  became  Sultan. 
There  were  several  uncles  of  the  Sultan,  but  they  were 
devoid  of  influence,  and  were  mostly  absent  in  Sarawak, 
whereas  the  Pangiran  Usup,  an  illegitimate  son  of  Sultan 
Muhammad  Tejudin,  and  consequently  a  left-handed  uncle 
to  the  reigning  Sultan, — a  man  crafty,  unscrupulous,  and 
ambitious, — held  sway  over  the  mind  of  his  nephew,  and 
induced  him  to  look  with  suspicion  on  his  uncles  of 
legitimate  birth.  This  man  was  in  league  with  the  pirates, 
and  a  determined  opponent  of  British  interference.  Conse- 
quently, though  outwardly  most  friendly,  he  was  bitterly 
opposed  to  the  white  Rajah,  against  whom  he  was  already 
plotting  to  accomplish  his  eviction,  or  his  death.  Though 
Pangiran  Usup  was  well  aware  of  the  Rajah's  determination 
to  stamp  out  piracy  and  oppression,  yet  he  was  not  wise 
enough  to  foresee  that  to  measure  his  strength  against  a 
chivalrous  and  resolute  Englishman,  who  had  even  a 
stronger  support  behind  him  than  those  forces  he  was 
already  slowly  and  surely  gathering  around  himself,  must  be 
futile,  and  that  it  would  end  in  his  own  ruin.  Among  the 
Sultan's  legitimate  uncles  the  only  man  of  ability  and 
integrity  was  the  Pangiran  Bedrudin,  who  had  accompanied 
the  Rajah  to  Bruni,  and  who  was  always  frank  with  him 
and  supported  his  schemes. 

The  Rajah  had  daily  interviews  with  the  Sultan,  who 
expressed  a  great  personal  regard  for  him,  and  frequently 
swore  "  eternal   friendship,"  clasping  his  hand  and   repeating 


THE   MAKING  OF   SARAWAK  85 

"  amigo  safer,  amigo  saya." 1  He  readily  confirmed  the 
cession  made  by  Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  being  satisfied  with 
the  amount  promised  as  his  share  of  the  Sarawak  revenue, 
and  said,  "  I  wish  you  to  be  there  ;  I  do  not  wish  anybody 
else;  you  are  my  amigo,  and  it  is  nobody's  business  but  mine  ; 
the  country  is  mine,  and  if  I  please  to  give  you  all,  I  can." 

The  deed  to  which  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  had  affixed 
his  seal  on  September  24,  1841,  was  to  the  following 
effect  : — 

That  the  country  and  government  of  Sarawak  is  made  over  to 
Mr.  Brooke  (to  be  held  under  the  crown  of  Bruni),  with  all  its 
revenues  and  dependencies,  on  the  yearly  payment  of  $2500.  That 
Mr.  Brooke  is  not  to  infringe  upon  the  customs  or  religion  of  the 
people ;  and  in  return,  that  no  person  is  to  interfere  with  him  in 
the  management  of  the  country. 

The  confirmatory  deed  was  executed  on  August  1, 
1842,  and  was  in  tenor  and  purport  similar  to  that  granted 
by  Hasim,  with  the  exception  of  an  additional  clause  pre- 
cluding the  alienation  of  Sarawak  by  the  Rajah  without  the 
consent  of  the  Sultan. 

The  Sultan  also  told  the  Rajah  that  it  would  be  a 
delight  to  him  to  welcome  both  his  uncles,  Hasim  and 
Bedrudin,  back  to  Bruni,  and  begged  the  Rajah  to  carry  for 
him  a  friendly  letter  to  the  former,  conveying  assurance 
that  he  was  completely  reconciled  to  him.  Bruni,  he  said, 
would  never  be  well  until  his  return.  The  Lascars  of  the 
Lord  Melbourne  were  at  once  given  up,  and  the  Rajah  also 
procured  the  release  of  three  of  the  Sultana's  Lascars,  who 
had  been  transferred  to  Bruni  masters.  Lie  remained  at 
Bruni  for  ten  days — a  period,  as  he  wrote,  "  quite  sufficient 
to  discover  to  me  the  nakedness  of  the  land,  their  civil 
dissensions,  and  the  total  decay  of  their  power,  internal  and 
external." 

On  his  return  the  Rajah  received  a  cordial  welcome, 
for  it  was  believed  that  he  would  certainly  be  killed  in 
Bruni ;  and  on  September  1  8,  the  deed  was  read  appointing 

1  Saya,  or  more  correctly,  sahaya  (mis-spelt  suya  in  the  Rajah's  badly  edited 
journals)  is  the  Malay  for  I,  mine;  so  amigo  saya  would  be,  My  friend.  Amigo 
was  one  of  the  few  Spanish  words  the  Sultan  had. 


86  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

him  to  hold  the  government  of  Sarawak  The  ceremony 
was  impressive,  but  it  nearly  became  tragical.  We  will  give 
the  Rajah's  own  description  of  it.  After  the  deed  had  been 
read — 

The  Rajah  (Muda  Hasim)  descended,  and  said  aloud  "If  any 
one  present  disowns  or  contests  the  Sultan's  appointment,  let  him 
now  declare.''  All  were  silent.  He  next  turned  to  the  Patinggis 
and  asked  them.  They  were  obedient  to  the  will  of  the  Sultan. 
Then  came  the  other  pangirans.  "  Is  there  any  pangiran  or  any 
young  Rajah  that  contests  the  question  ?  Pangiran  der  Makota, 
what  do  you  say?'  Makota  expressed  his  willingness  to  obey. 
One  or  two  other  obnoxious  pangirans,  who  had  always  opposed 
themselves  to  me,  were  each  in  turn  challenged,  and  forced  to 
promise  obedience.  The  Rajah  then  waved  his  sword,  and  with  a 
loud  voice  exclaimed,  "  Whoever  he  is  that  disobeys  the  Sultan's 
mandate  now  received  I  will  separate  his  skull."  At  the  moment 
some  ten  of  his  brothers  jumped  from  the  verandah,  and,  drawing 
their  long  krisses,  began  to  flourish  and  dance  about,  thrusting  close 
to  Makota,  striking  the  pillar  above  his  head,  and  pointing  their 
weapons  at  his  breast.  This  cwu/sevie/it,  the  violence  of  motion, 
the  freedom  from  restraint,  this  explosion  of  a  long  pent  up 
animosity,  roused  all  their  passions  ;  and  had  Makota,  through  an 
excess  of  fear  or  an  excess  of  bravery,  started  up  he  would  have 
been  slain,  and  other  blood  would  have  been  spilt.  But  he  was 
quiet,  with  his  face  pale  and  subdued,  and,  as  shortly  as  decency 
would  permit  after  the  riot  had  subsided,  took  his  leave. 

The  Rajah  now  ordered  Makota  to  leave  the  country, 
an  order  that  could  not  be  ignored,  though  he  kept  defer- 
ring his  departure  on  one  pretext  after  another,  and  it  was 
not  until  the  arrival  of  the  Dido  some  eight  months  later 
that  he  quitted  Sarawak,  and  that  suddenly.  He  then 
joined  Sherip  Sahap  at  Sadong,  and  when  that  piratical 
chiefs  power  was  broken,  he  retired  along  with  him  to 
Patusan.  Makota  was  captured  after  the  destruction  of  that 
place  in  1844,  but,  unfortunately,  the  Rajah  spared  his 
life.  He  then  retired  to  Bruni,  there  to  continue  his  plots 
against  the  English,  and  in  1845  was  commissioned  by  the 
Sultan  to  murder  Rajah  Brooke,  but  found  that  the  execu- 
tion of  this  design  would  be  too  distinctly  dangerous  ;  and, 
though  he  bearded  the  lion  in  his  den,  it  was  only  in  the 
guise  of  a   beggar.      At   Bruni   he    rose  to    power,    and,  as 


THE   MAKING   OF   SARAWAK  87 

already  related  in  chapter  II.,  became  a  scourge  to  the  natives 
in  that  part  of  the  sultanate.  His  end  was  this  : — In 
November,  1858,  he  headed  a  raid  at  Awang  in  the 
Limbang  to  sweep  together  a  number  of  Bisaya  girls  to 
fill  his  harem,  when  he  was  fallen  upon  by  the  natives  at 
night  time  and  killed. 

The  Rajah  now  set  to  work  in  earnest  to  put  the 
Government  on  a  sound  footing.  He  made  no  attempt 
to  introduce  a  brand  new  constitution  and  laws,  but  took 
what  already  existed.  He  found  the  legal  code  was  just 
enough  on  paper,  but  had  been  over-ridden  and  nullified 
by  the  lawless  pangirans.  All  that  was  necessary  was  to 
enforce  the  existing  laws,  modifying  the  penalties  where 
too  cruel  and  severe,  and  introducing  fresh  laws  as 
occasion  required.  "  I  hate,"  he  wrote  in  October,  "  the 
idea  of  an  Utopian  government,  with  laws  cut  and  dried 
ready  for  the  natives,  being  introduced.  Governments,  like 
clothes,  will  not  suit  everybody,  and  certainly  a  people  who 
gradually  develop  their  government,  though  not  a  good  one, 
are  nearer  happiness  and  stability  than  a  government  of  the 
best  which  is  fitted  at  random.  I  am  going  on  slowly  and 
surely,  basing  everything  on  their  own  laws,  consulting  all 
the  headmen  at  every  step,  instilling  what  I  think  right — 
separating  the  abuses  from  the  customs."  The  government 
which  he  had  displaced  was  so  utterly  bad  that  any  change 
was  certain  to  be  accepted  by  the  people  with  hope  of 
improvement ;  and  when  it  was  found,  that  by  the  introduc- 
tion of  a  wise  system  of  taxation,  which  actually  doubled 
the  revenue,  whilst  to  the  popular  mind  it  seemed  to  halve 
their  burden — when,  moreover,  they  found  that  justice  was 
strictly  and  impartially  administered  in  the  courts — they 
welcomed  the  change  with  whole-hearted  gratitude.  The 
Rajah  associated  the  native  chiefs  with  himself  in  the 
government,  and  found  them  amenable  to  wholesome 
principles,  and  on  the  whole  to  be  level-headed  men.  By 
this  means  mutual  confidence  was  inspired,  and  the  founda- 
tion laid  of  a  government,  the  principle  of  which  was  and 
has  ever  since  been  "  to  rule  for  the  people  and  with  the 
people,"  to  quote  the  Rajah  writing  twenty-two  years  later, 


88  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

"  and  to  teach  them  the  rights  of  freemen  under  the  re- 
straints of  government.  The  majority  of  the  "  Council  "  1 
secures  a  legal  ascendency  for  native  ideas  of  what  is  best 
for  their  happiness,  here  and  hereafter.  The  wisdom  of  the 
white  man  cannot  become  a  hindrance,  and  the  English 
ruler  must  be  their  friend  and  guide,  or  nothing.  The 
citizen  of  Sarawak  has  every  privilege  enjoyed  by  the 
citizen  of  England,  and  far  more  personal  freedom  than  is 
known  in  a  thickly  populated  country.  They  are  not 
taught  industry  by  being  forced  to  work.  They  take  a 
part  in  the  government  under  which  they  live  ;  they  are 
consulted  upon  the  taxes  they  pay  ;  and,  in  short,  they  are 
free  men. 

"  This  is  the  government  which  has  struck  its  roots  into 
the  soil  for  the  last  quarter  of  a  century,  which  has  triumphed 
over  every  danger  and  difficult}-,  and  which  has  inspired  its 
people  with  confidence." 

The  revenue  of  Sarawak  was  in  utter  confusion.  Over 
large  tracts  of  country  no  tax  could  be  enforced,  and  the 
Rajah,  as  he  had  undertaken,  was  determined  to  lighten  the 
load  that  had  weighed  so  crushingly,  and  was  inflicted  so 
arbitrarily  on  the  loyal  Land-Dayaks — loyal  hitherto,  not  in 
heart,  but  because  powerless  to  resist.  To  carry  on  the 
government  without  funds  was  impossible,  and  the  want  of 
these  was  now,  and  for  many  years  to  come,  the  Rajah's 
greatest  trouble.  Consequently  the  antimony  ore  was  made 
a  monopoly  of  the  government,  which  was  a  fair  and  just 
measure,  and  to  the  general  advantage  of  the  community, 
though  it  was  subsequently  seized  upon  as  a  pretext  for 
accusing  the  Rajah  of  having  debased  his  position  by 
engaging  in  trade.  But  it  was  years  before  the  revenue 
was  sufficient  to  meet  the  expenditure,  and  gradually  the 
Rajah  sacrificed  his  entire  fortune  to  pay  the  expenses  of 
the  administration. 

In  undertaking  the  government  he  had  three  objects  in 
view  : — 

(i)  The  relief  of  the  unfortunate  Land-Dayaks  from 
oppression. 

1    I.-tablished  in  18^;. 


THE   MAKING  OF  SARAWAK  89 

(2)  The  suppression  of  piracy,  and  the  restoration  to 
a  peaceable  and  orderly  life,  of  those  tribes  of  Dayaks 
who  had  been  converted  into  marauders  by  their  Malay 
masters. 

(3)  The  suppression  of  head-hunting. 

But  these  ends  could  not  be  attained  all  at  once.  The 
first  was  the  easiest  arrived  at,  and  the  news  spread  through 
the  length  and  breadth  of  the  island  that  there  was  one 
spot  on  its  surface  where  the  native  was  not  ground  to 
powder,  and  where  justice  reigned.  The  result  was  that  the 
Land-Dayaks  flocked  to  it.  Whole  families  came  over 
from  the  Dutch  Protectorate,  where  there  was  no  protection  ; 
and  others  who  had  fled  to  the  mountains  and  the  jungle 
returned  to  the  sites  of  their  burnt  villages. 

How  this  has  worked,  on  the  same  undeviating  lines  of 
a  sound  policy,  under  the  rule  of  the  two  Rajahs,  the 
following  may  show.  Writing  in  1867,  on  revisiting 
Sarawak,  Admiral  the  Hon.  Sir  Henry  Keppel  said  : 

It  brought  back  to  my  mind  some  four-and-twenty  years  ago, 
when  I  first  came  up  in  the  Dido  with  Sir  James  Brooke  on  board, 
and  gave  the  first  and  nearly  the  only  help  he  had  in  securing  his 
position,  thereby  enabling  him  to  carry  out  his  philanthropic  views 
for  the  benefit  of  a  strange  race.  If  he  had  not  succeeded  to  the 
full  extent  of  his  then  sanguine  hopes,  still  there  is  no  man  living, 
or  to  come,  who,  single-handed,  will  have  benefited  his  fellow- 
creatures  to  the  extent  Brooke  has.  In  1842,  piracy,  slavery, 
and  head-hunting  were  the  order  of  the  day.  The  sail  of  a 
peaceful  trader  was  nowhere  to  be  seen,  not  even  a  fisherman,  but 
along  the  length  of  this  beautiful  coast,  far  into  the  interior,  the 
Malays  and  Dayaks  warred  on  one  another.  Now  how  different ! 
Huts  and  fishing  stakes  are  to  be  seen  all  along  the  coast,  the 
town  of  Kuching,  which  on  the  visit  of  the  Dido,  had  scarcely 
800  inhabitants,  now  has  a  population  of  20,000.  The  aborigines, 
who  called  themselves  warriors,  are  now  peaceful  traders  and 
cultivators  of  rice.  The  jungle  is  fast  being  cleared  to  make 
way  for  farms. 

Head-hunting,  the  third  aim  which  Rajah  Brooke  held 
before  his  eyes,  was  an  ingrained  custom  of  the  race  which 
could  not  be  eradicated  at  once.      The  utmost  that  he  could 


90  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

effect  at  first  was  to  prevent  the  taking  of  heads  of  any  of 
the  subjects  under  his  rule.  All  the  tribes  that  were  in  his 
raj  were  to  be  regarded  as  friends,  and  were  therefore  not  to 
be  molested.  Any  breach  of  the  peace,  every  murder  was 
severely  punished.  In  a  short  time  head-hunting  and  inter- 
tribal feuds  amongst  the  Sarawak  Dayaks  were  extirpated, 
and  the  raj  ceased  to  be  a  hunting-field  for  the  Sekrang  and 
Saribas  Dayaks  ;  but  they  continued  to  haunt  the  coast 
together  with  the  Lanun  and  Balenini  pirates,  and  the 
suppression  of  piracy  was  the  most  serious  undertaking  of 
the  three,  and  took  many  years  to  accomplish. 

Early  in  1S43,  the  Rajah  visited  Singapore  to  further  the 
interests  of  his  raj,  and  for  a  change.  His  main  wish,  which 
he  had  repeatedly  expressed,  was  to  transfer  Sarawak  to  the 
Crown,  and  he  likewise  impressed  upon  the  Government 
the  policy  of  establishing  a  settlement  at  Labuan,  and  of 
obtaining  a  monopoly  of  the  coal  in  the  Bruni  Sultanate. 
He  was  able  to  interest  the  Chinese  merchants  in  the  trade  of 
Sarawak.  But  the  most  important  matter  was  the  immediate 
suppression  of  the  ravages  committed  by  the  pirates,  both 
Dayak  and  Malay  ;  and  here  Providence  threw  across  his 
path,  in  the  person  of  Captain  the  Hon.  Henry  Keppel,1  the 
very  assistance  he  required.  Between  the  white  Rajah  and 
the  Rajah  Laut  (Sea  King),  the  title  by  which  Keppel  became 
known,  and  was  ever  afterwards  remembered  in  Sarawak, 
a  sincere  attachment  arose.  Keppel  was  attracted  by  the 
Rajah's  lovable  personality,  and  sympathised  with  his  objects  ; 
and,  being  chivalrous  and  always  ready  to  act  upon  his  own 
responsibility,  he  at  once  decided  to  lend  all  the  support  in 
his  power,  which  any  other  naval  officer  might  have  hesitated 
to  have  done.  The  aid  he  so  nobly  rendered  came  at  an 
opportune  time,  for  it  not  only  administered  to  the  pirates 
a  severe  lesson,  but  also  taught  those  inimical  to  his  rule 
that  the  white  Rajah  was  not  held  aloof  by  his  own  country- 
men, and  thus  consolidated  his  power  by  reassuring  the 
waverers  and  encouraging  the  loyal.  The  kindly  and 
gallant  Keppel  stands  foremost  amongst  the  friends  of 
Sarawak,  to  which  State  he  rendered   not  only  the  splendid 

1   Afterwards  Admiral  of  the  Fleet.      He  died,  January  1904. 


THE   MAKING   OF  SARAWAK 


9i 


services  to  be  recorded  in  our  next  chapter,  but  ever  evinced 
a  keen  and  kindly  interest  in  its  welfare,  and  in  its  Rajahs, 
to  whom  he  was  ever  ready  to  lend  his  able  support  and 
influence,  and  of  whom  the  Rajah  wrote,  "  He  is  my  friend 
and  the  benefactor  of  Sarawak." 


THE    PART    OF    KUCHING    SHOWN    IN    HEAD-PIECE  OF    PRESENT    CHAPTER, 
AS    IT    NOW    IS. 


CHAPTER    IV 


THE    PIRATES 


S  we  have  already  mentioned,  the 
second,  and  by  far  the  most  diffi- 
cult, task  that  Rajah  Brooke  had 
set  before  him,  and  was  deter- 
mined to  accomplish,  was  the 
suppression  of  piracy,  which  he 
rightly  described  as  an  evil  almost 
as  disgraceful  to  the  European 
nations  who  permitted  it  as  to 
the  native  States  engaged  in  it. 
The  principal  piratical  peoples 
at  the  time  were  the  Illanun, 
or  Lanun,  the  Balenini,  the 
Bajaus,  and  the  Sulus,  all  living  to  the  north  or  north-east  of 
Bruni,  and  consequently  far  beyond  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
Rajah.  To  these  must  be  added  the  Sea-Dayaks  of  the 
Saribas  and  Sekrang,  who,  led  by  their  Malay  allies,  though 
less  formidable  to  trade,  were  far  more  destructive  of  human 
life. 

The  Sambas  Malays  had  also  been  pirates,  but  at  this 
period  had  ceased  to  be  such.  Earl,  who  visited  Sambas 
in  1834,  says,  that  "before  the  arrival  of  the  Dutch  Sambas 
was  a  nest  of  pirates.  In  1  8  1  2,  having  attacked  an  English 
vessel,  several  British  men-of-war  were  sent  from  Batavia  to 
attack  the  town.  The  inhabitants  resisted,  but  were  defeated, 
the  fort  was  razed  to  the  ground,  and  the  guns  tumbled  into 
the   river."      The   reoccupation   by  the   Dutch  shortly  aftcr- 

92 


THE   PIRATES  93 

wards  of  this  place,  Pontianak,  and  Banjermasin,  put  some 
check  upon  the  piratical  habits  of  the  Malays  in  the  western 
and  southern  States,1  but  the  Malays  of  the  eastern  shores 
of  Borneo,  especially  those  of  Koti,  to  the  north  and 
north-west,  were  all  pirates  ;  and  even  the  people  of  Bruni 
were  imbued  with  piratical  habits,  which  were  generally 
inherent  in  the  Malay  character,  though  they  were  not  enter- 
prising enough  to  be  openly  piratical,  or  to  do  more  than 
encourage  their  bolder  neighbours,  from  whom  they  could 
obtain  plunder  and  slaves  cheaply  ;  and  near  Bruni,  within 
the  territory  of  the  Sultan,  were  several  piratical  strongholds. 
All  these  were  under  the  control  of  half-bred  Arab  sherips, 
as  also  were  the  Saribas  and  the  Sekrangs. 

The  Lanuns  are  natives  of  the  large  island  of  Mindanau, 
or  Magindanau,  the  southernmost  of  the  Philippine  group. 
They  were  known  to  the  Spaniards  as  "  Los  Illanos  de  la 
laguna,"  and,  in  common  with  ail  Muhammadans,  were  classed 
by  them  as  Moros  or  Moors.  On  the  lagoon,  or  bay,  of  Lanun 
they  live.  They  were  the  boldest  and  most  courageous  of  the 
pirates,  and  the  most  dangerous  to  Europeans,  whom  they 
never  hesitated  to  attack,  not  even  the  Dutch  gunboats,  and 
to  whom,  unlike  the  Balenini  pirates,  they  would  never  give 
quarter,  owing  to  a  hatred,  born  of  former  injustice  and 
inhumanity,  received  at  the  hands  of  those  whom  they  could 
only  have  regarded  as  white  barbarians.  They  became 
incorrigible  and  cruel  pirates,  looking  upon  piracy  as  a 
noble  profession,  though  Dampier,  who  spent  six  months 
amongst  them  in  16S6-7,  and  who  was  very  hospitably 
treated,  says  nothing  of  piracy,  and  he  gives  a  full  and 
intelligent  account  of  the  island,  its  inhabitants,  and  pro- 
ducts. He  describes  the  "  Hilanoons  "  as  being  a  peaceable 
people,  who  bought  foreign  commodities  with  the  product 
of  their  gold  mines.  The  Spaniards  had  sometime  before 
occupied  the  island,  but  the  garrison  had  to  be  suddenly 
withdrawn  to  Manila,  in  consequence  of  a  threatened  invasion 
of  that  place  by  the  Chinese.      The  Sultan  then  seized  their 

1  The  Governor-General  of  Netherlands  East  Indies  in  a  rescript,  dated  January 
23,  1846,  acknowledged  that  the  exertions  during  the  past  twenty-five  years  effectually 
to  suppress  piracy  on  the  coasts  of  Borneo  had  not  been  successful  for  want  of  com- 
bination, and  for  having  been  limited  to  the  western  coast. 


94  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

cannon,  demolished  their  forts,  and  expelled  their  friars. 
Then  it  was  the  Dutch  they  feared  ;  they  wished  the  English 
to  establish  a  Factory  there,1  and  subsequently,  in  1775,  ceded 
a  small  island  to  the  H.E.I.  Company  for  that  purpose. 

Though  the  Spanish  had  a  settlement  on  the  western 
end  of  the  island  they  were  unable  to  keep  the  Lanun 
pirates  in  check,  and  on  occasions  were  severely  handled 
by  them,  as  were  also  the  Dutch. 

With  these  pirates  were  associated  the  Bajaus  or  sea- 
gipsies,  a  roving  people,  who  lived  entirely  in  their  prahus, 
with  their  women  and  children. 

The  vessels  employed  by  Lanuns  on  marauding  expedi- 
tions were  sometimes  of  60  tons  burden,  built  very  sharp 
in  the  prow  and  wide  in  beam,  and  over  90  feet  in 
length.  A  double  tier  of  oars  was  worked  by  slaves  to 
the  number  of  100,  and  the  fighting  men  would  be 
from  30  to  40  ;  the  prahus  of  the  smallest  size  carried 
from  50  to  80  in  all.  The  bows  of  the  vessels  were 
solidly  built,  and  fortified  with  hard  wooden  baulks  capable 
of  resisting  a  6-pounder  shot  ;  often  they  were  shod  with 
iron.  Here  a  narrow  embrasure  admitted  a  gun  for  a  6  to 
a  24-pound  shot.  In  addition  to  this,  the  armaments  con- 
sisted of  several  guns,  usually  of  brass,  of  smaller  calibre. 
Sometimes  the  piratical  fleets  comprised  as  many  as  200 
prahus,  though  the  Lanuns  usually  cruised  in  small  fleets  of 
20  to  30  sail.  They  would  descend  on  a  coast  and  attack 
any  village,  sack  and  burn  it,  kill  the  defenders,  carry  away 
men,  women,  and  children  as  slaves,  slaughter  the  cattle, 
and  ravage  the  plantations.  A  cargo  of  slaves  captured 
on  the  east  coast  of  Borneo  would  be  sold  on  the  west 
coast,  and  those  taken  in  the  south  would  find  a  ready 
market  in  the  north,  in  Sulu 2  and  the  Lanun  country. 
Their  cruising  grounds  were  extensive — around  the  coasts 
of  the  Philippine  islands,  Borneo,  and  Celebes  to  Sumatra, 
Java,  and  the  Malay  peninsula,  through  the  Moluccas  to  New 
Guinea,  and  even  up  the  Bay  of  Bengal  as  far  as  Rangoon. 
In  1834,  a  fleet  of  these  Lanuns  swept  round  the  coast  of  a 

1  A  Collection  of  V  1  729. 

-  Sulu  was  the  principal  market  for  the  disposal  of  captives  and  plunder. 


THE   PIRATES  95 

small  island  in  the  Straits  of  Rhio,  opposite  Singapore,  and 
killed  or  carried  away  all  the  inhabitants.1  In  addition  to 
their  original  home  in  the  bay  of  Lanun,  they  had  settle- 
ments in  Marudu  Bay  in  the  north  of  Borneo,  and  towns 
along  the  west  coast  almost  as  far  south  as  Ambong,  and 
on  the  east  coast  to  Tungku,  and  on  to  Koti.  In  Marudu 
their  chief  was  Sherip  Usman,  who  was  married  to  a  sister 
of  the  Sultan  Muda  of  Sulu,  and  who  was  in  league  with 
Pangiran  Usup,  uncle  to  the  Sultan  of  Bruni,  and  his 
principal  adviser.  Usman  supplied  the  pirates  with  powder, 
shot,  and  guns,  and  they,  on  returning  from  a  piratical 
expedition,  paid  him  at  the  rate  of  four  captives  for  every 
IOO  rupees  worth  of  goods  with  which  he  had  furnished 
them.  Such  captives  as  had  been  taken  in  the  vicinity  of 
Bruni  he  would  sell  to  Pangiran  Usup  for  100  rupees  each, 
who  would  then  demand  of  their  friends  and  relations  Rs.  200 
for  each.  "Thus  this  vile  Sherip,  not  reckoning  the  enormous 
price  he  charged  for  his  goods  in  the  first  instance,  gained 
500  per  cent  for  every  slave,  and  the  Pangiran  Usup  cleared 
100  per  cent  by  the  flesh  of  his  own  countrymen." 

In  1 844,  Ambong  was  a  flourishing  town  occupied  by 
an  industrious  and  peaceable  people,  subjects  of  the  Sultan 
of  Bruni.  In  1846,  Captain  Rodney  Mundy,  R.N.,  visited 
it,  and  the  town  was  represented  by  a  heap  of  ruins  alone  ; 
the  inhabitants  had  been  slaughtered,  or  enslaved  to  be 
passed  on  to  Usup,  that  he  might  make  what  he  could  out 
of  them,  by  holding  them  to  ransom  by  their  relatives. 

The  Balenini  were  hand  in  glove  with  the  Lanuns,  and 
often  associated  with  them  in  their  expeditions.  They 
issued  from  a  group  of  islands  in  the  Sulu  sea,  and  acted 
in  complicity  with  the  Sultan  of  Sulu,  whose  country  was 
the  great  nucleus  of  piracy.  They  equipped  annually  con- 
siderable fleets  to  prey  upon  the  commerce  with  Singapore 
and  the  Straits  ;  they  also  attacked  villages,  and  carried  off 
alike  crews  of  vessels  and  villagers  to  slavery,  to  be  crowded 
for  months   in   the   bottom    of  the    pirate  vessels,  suffering 

1  A  son  of  Captain  Francis  Light,  who  founded  Penang  in  1786,  was  named 
Lanoon,  he  having  been  born  on  the  island  at  the  time  it  was  being  blockaded  by 
Lanun  pirates. 


96  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

indescribable  miseries.  Their  cruising  grounds  were  also 
very  extensive  ;  the  whole  circuit  of  Borneo  was  exposed 
to  their  attacks,  except  only  the  Lanun  settlements,  for 
hawks  do  not  peck  out  hawk's  een.  When  pursued  and 
liable  to  be  overtaken,  they  cut  the  throats  of  their  captives 
and  threw  them  overboard,  men,  women,  and  children  alike. 
Up  to  1848,  the  principal  Balenini  strongholds  were  in 
Balenini,  Tongkil,  and  Basilan  islands,  but  they  were  then 
driven  out  of  the  two  former  islands  by  the  Spaniards,  and 
they  established  themselves  on  other  islands  in  the  Sulu 
Archipelago  ;  and  Tawi  Tawi  island,  which  had  always  been 
one  of  their  strongholds,  then  became  their  principal  one. 

Trade  with  Borneo  and  the  Sulu  Archipelago  was 
rendered  almost  impossible,  or  at  least  a  very  dangerous 
pursuit,  and  even  merchantmen  using  the  Palawan  passage  to 
China,  which  takes  them  close  along  the  coast  of  Borneo,  often 
fell  a  prey  to  these  pirates. 

Earl,  writing  a  year  or  two  before  the  advent  of  the  late 
Rajah  to  Sarawak,  remarks  in  connection  with  Borneo,  that  it 
ought  to  be  considered  but  "  an  act  of  justice  to  the  natives 
of  the  Indian  Archipelago,  whom  we  have  enticed  to  visit 
our  settlement  of  Singapore,  that  some  exertion  should  be 
made  towards  the  suppression  of  piracy."  He  blames  the 
unaccountable  indifference  and  neglect  which  the  British 
Government  had  hitherto  displayed,  and  expresses  his 
sympathy  for  the  natives.  He  considered  it  his  duty  to 
point  the  way — it  was  left  to  the  late  Rajah  to  lead  in  it. 

The  Natuna,  the  Anamba,  and  the  Tambilan  islands, 
which  stretch  across  the  entrance  of  the  China  sea  between 
Borneo  and  the  Malay  peninsula,  were  common  lurking 
haunts  of  the  pirates.  Amongst  these  islands  they  could 
find  water  and  shelter  ;  could  careen,  clean,  and  repair  their 
prahus  ;  and  they  were  right  in  the  track  of  vessels  bound 
to  Singapore,  or  northward  to  the  Philippines  or  China. 
To  replenish  their  stores  and  to  obtain  arms  and  ammunition 
they  would  sail  to  Singapore  in  innocent-looking  captured 
prahus,  where  they  found  a  ready  market  for  their  booty 
amongst  the  Chinese.  Muskets  of  English  make  and 
powder  from  English  factories  were  found  in  captured  prahus 


THE   PIRATES 


97 


and  strongholds.  At  Patusan  a  number  of  barrels  of  fine 
gunpowder  from  Dartford  were  discovered  exactly  as  these 
had  left  the  factory  in  England. 

Against  these  the  Rajah  was  powerless  to  take  the  offen- 
sive. They  had  to  be  left  to  be  reduced  or  cowed  by  the 
spasmodic  efforts  of  British  men-of-war.  What  he  urged, 
though  ineffectually,  was  that  a  man-of-war  should  patrol 
the  coast  and  curb  the  ruffians.  What  was  actually  done,  but 
not  until  later,  was  to  attack  and  burn  a  stronghold  or  two, 
and  then  retire.  The  pirates  fled  into  the  jungle,  but  returned 
when  the  British  were  gone,  rebuilt  their  houses,  and  supplied 
themselves  with  fresh  vessels. 

Near  at  hand  were  the  Saribas  and  Sekrang  Sea-Dayaks 
occupying  the  basins  of  rivers  of  these  names,  the  Sekrang 
being  an  affluent  of  the  Batang  Lupar. 

In  each  of  these  rivers  was  a  large  Malay  community 
of  some  iooo  fighting  men  who  lived  by  piracy,  and  who 
trained  the  numerous  Dayaks,  by  whom  they  were 
surrounded,  to  the  same  lawless  life  that  they  led  them- 
selves, and  guided  them  on  their  predatory  excursions. 
Here  again  both  Dayaks  and  Malays  were  under  the 
influence  of  Sherips,  Mular,  his  brother  Sahap,  and  others. 
In  course  of  time  these  Dayaks  became  expert  seamen,  and, 
accompanied  by  the  Malays,  yearly  issued  forth  with  fleets 
composed  of  a  hundred  or  more  bangkongs,1  sweeping  the 
seas  and  carrying  desolation  along  the  shores  of  Borneo  over 
a  distance  of  800  miles. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  soon  became  aware  of  their  power  ; 
and  accordingly,  both  in  their  internal  government  and  on 
their  piratical  expeditions,  their  chiefs  attained  an  authority 
superior  to  that  of  the  Malay  chiefs,  their  titular  rulers. 

In  May,  I  843,  H. M.S.  Dido  started  on  her  eventful  cruise 
to  Borneo,  having  the  Rajah  on  board.  After  passing 
Sambas,  Captain  Keppel  dispatched  the  pinnace  and  two 
cutters  under  the  first  lieutenant,  with  whom  went  the 
Rajah,  to  cruise  along  the  coast.  Lanun  pirates  were  seen, 
but,  easily  outsailing  the  flotilla,  escaped.  Off  Sirhasan, 
the  largest  of  the  group  of  the  Natuna  islands,  whither  the 

1   Dayak  war-boats,  some  having  as  many  as  75  to  the  crew. 

H 


98  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

boats  had  been  directed  to  go,  six  prahus,  some  belonging  to 
the  Rajah  Muda  of  Rhio  (an  island  close  to  Singapore, 
belonging  to  the  Dutch,  and  under  a  Dutch  Resident),  and 
some  to  the  islanders,  mistaking  the  Dido's  boats  for  those  of 
a  shipwrecked  vessel,  and  expecting  an  easy  pre}-,  advanced 
with  boldness  and  opened  fire  upon  them.  They  were  quickly 
undeceived,  and  in  a  few  minutes  three  out  of  the  six  prahus 
were  captured,  with  a  loss  of  over  twelve  killed  and  many 
wounded.  Neither  the  Rhio  Malays  nor  those  of  the  islands 
were  pirates,  and  the  former  under  an  envoy  were  collecting 
tribute  for  the  Sultan  of  Lingin,  but  the  temptation  was  irre- 
sistible to  a  people  with  piracy  innate  in  their  character. 
They  protested  it  was  a  mistake,  and  that  with  the  sun  in 
their  eyes  they  had  mistaken  the  boats  for  Lanun  pirates  ! 
The  little  English  flotilla  had  suffered  no  casualties,  and  a 
severe  lesson  had  been  administered,  which  was  rightly 
considered  to  be  sufficient.  The  wounded  were  attended  to, 
and,  having  been  liberally  supplied  with  fresh  provisions, 
Lieutenant  YVilmot  Horton  left  for  Sarawak  to  rejoin  the 
Dido. 

After  having  been  cleverly  dodged  by  three  Lanun 
prahus,  the  Dido  anchored  off  the  Muaratebas  entrance  on  May 
13th,  and  proceeded  up  to  Kuching  on  the  16th.  Keppel 
described  the  Rajah's  reception  by  his  people  as  one  of  un- 
disguised delight,  mingled  with  gratitude  and  respect,  on  the 
return  of  their  newly  elected  ruler  to  his  country. 

The  temerity  of  the  pirates  had  become  so  great  that  it 
was  deemed  advisable  to  despatch  the  little  Sarawak  gun- 
boat, the  Jolly  Bachelor,  under  the  charge  of  Lieutenant 
Hunt,  with  a  crew  of  eighteen  marines  and  seamen,  to 
cruise  in  the  vicinity  of  Cape  Datu,  and  there  to  await  the 
arrival  of  a  small  yacht  which  was  expected  from  Singapore 
with  the  mails,  and  to  escort  her  to  Kuching.  Two  or  three 
days  after  they  had  left,  at  about  3  o'clock  one  morning, 
writes  Captain  Keppel  : — 

The  moon  being  just  about  to  rise,  Lieutenant  Hunt,  happening 
to  awake,  observed  a  savage  brandishing  a  kris,  and  performing  his 
war-dance  on  the  bit  of  deck  in  an  ecstasy  of  delight,  thinking  in  all 
probability  of  the  ease  with  which  he  had  got  possession  of  a  line 


THE   PIRATES 


99 


trading  boat,  •  and  calculating  the  cargo  of  slaves  he  had  to  sell, 
but  little  dreaming  of  the  hornets'  nest  into  which  he  had  fallen. 
Lieutenant  Hunt's  round  face  meeting  the  light  of  the  rising  moon, 
without  a  turban  surmounting  it,  was  the  first  notice  the  pirate  had 
of  his  mistake.  He  immediately  plunged  overboard ;  and  before 
Lieutenant  Hunt  had  sufficiently  recovered  his  astonishment,  to 
know  whether  he  was  dreaming  or  not,  or  to  rouse  his  crew  up, 
a  discharge  from  three  or  four  cannons  within  a  few  yards,  and  the 
cutting  through  the  rigging  by  the  various  missiles  with  which  the 
guns  were  loaded,  soon  convinced  him  there  was  no  mistake.  It 
was  as  well  the  men  were  still  lying  down  when  this  discharge  took 
place,  as  not  one  of  them  was  hurt;  but  on  jumping  to  their  legs, 
they  found  themselves  closely  pressed  by  two  large  war-prahus,  one 
on  each  bow.  To  return  the  fire,  cut  the  cable,  man  the  oars, 
and  back  astern  to  gain  room,  was  the  work  of  a  minute  ;  but  now 
came  the  tug-of-war,  it  was  a  case  of  life  and  death.  Our  men 
fought  as  British  sailors  ought  to  do ;  quarter  was  not  expected  on 
either  side  ;  and  the  quick  and  deadly  aim  of  the  marines  prevented 
the  pirates  from  reloading  their  guns.  The  strong  bulwarks  or 
barricades,  grape-shot  proof,  across  the  fore  part  of  the  Lanun 
prahus,  through  which  ports  are  formed  for  working  the  guns,  had 
to  be  cut  away  by  round  shot  before  the  muskets  could  bear  effec- 
tually. This  done  the  grape  and  cannister  told  with  fearful  execution. 
In  the  meantime,  the  prahus  had  been  pressing  forward  to  board 
while  the  Jolly  Bachelor  backed  astern  ;  but  as  soon  as  this  service 
was  achieved,  our  men  dropped  their  oars,  and  seizing  their  muskets 
dashed  on  :  the  work  was  sharp  but  short,  and  the  slaughter  great. 
While  one  pirate  boat  was  sinking,  and  an  effort  made  to  secure 
her,  the  other  effected  her  escape  by  rounding  the  point  of  rocks 
where  a  third  and  larger  prahu,  hitherto  unseen,  came  to  her  assist- 
ance, and  putting  fresh  hands  on  board  and  taking  her  in  tow, 
succeeded  in  getting  off,  although  chased  by  the/oily  Bachelor,  after 
setting  fire  to  the  crippled  prize,  which  blew  up  and  sank.1 

None  of  the  crew  of  this  prahu  survived,  and  so  few  in 
the  second  prahu,  that,  when  she  separated  from  her  consort, 
the  slaves  arose  and  put  them  to  death.  They  were  the 
same  three  prahus  that  had  eluded  the  Dido. 

Having  satisfied  himself  as  to  the  character  of  the  Saribas 
and  Sekrang  Dayaks,  and  how  the  chiefs  governing  them 
encouraged  their  depredations,  and  having  received  an  appeal 
from  the  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  2  to  relieve  the  cost  of  the  perils 

1  Expedition  to  Borneo  of  H. M.S.  Dido,  1847. 

2  On  behalf  of  the  Sultan,  Saribas  and  Sekrang  being  beyond  Rajah   Brooke's 
jurisdiction. 


ioo  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

it  underwent,  Captain  Keppel  resolved  to  attack  the  Saribas 
first,  as  being  the  most  formidable  of  the  two  piratical  hordes. 

Preparations  for  the  expedition  were  soon  commenced. 
It  was  to  consist  of  a  native  force  of  300  Malays,  the  Dido's 
three  large  boats,  and  the  Jolly  Bachelor,  manned  by  blue- 
jackets and  marines,  all  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant 
Wilmot  Horton.  The  datus  were  opposed  to  the  Rajah 
going — they  thought  the  risk  too  great,  but  on  his  express- 
ing his  determination  to  do  so,  and  leaving  it  to  them  to 
accompany  him  or  not,  their  simple  reply  was,  "  What  is  the 
use  of  our  remaining?  If  you  die,  we  die  ;  and  if  you  live, 
we  live  ;  we  will  go  with  you."  ]  The  Rajah  and  Captain 
Keppel  accompanied  the  expedition  in  the  Dido's  gig. 

Intelligence  of  the  design  was  carried  far  and  wide. 
The  Saribas  strengthened  their  defences,  and  several  of 
the  half-bred  Arab  sherips  living  nearer  Sarawak  sent  in 
promises  of  good  conduct.  Tribes  that  had  suffered  from 
the  depredations  of  the  pirates  offered  to  join  in  attacking 
them,  and  the  force  thus  augmented  by  several  hundreds  ot 
Dayaks  started  early  in  June. 

The  first  skirmish  fell  to  the  lot  of  Datu  Patinggi  Ali, 
who,  having  been  sent  on  ahead,  met  a  force  of  seven  prahus 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Saribas,  which  he  attacked  and  drove 
back,  after  capturing  one.  Padi,  a  stockaded  town  some 
60  miles  up  the  Saribas  river,  and  the  furthest  up  of  the 
piratical  strongholds,  reputed  also  to  be  the  strongest  and 
most  important,  was  the  first  attacked,  and  though  defended 
by  two  forts  and  two  booms  of  forest  trees  stretched  across 
the  river,  and  being  crowded  with  Malay  and  Dayak 
warriors,  it  was  carried  on  the  evening  of  June  1  1,  and  the 
place  committed  to  the  flames.  The  next  day  some  800 
Balau  Dayaks,-'  under  Sherip  Japar  of  Lingga,  joined  the 
force,  keen  to  make  reprisals  for  past  injuries. 

The  enemy,  reckoned  at  about  6000  Dayaks  and  500 
Malays,  had  retired  up-river,  and  against  them  a  small  force 
of  about  40  blue-jackets   and   the   same   number  of  Malays, 

1   Keppel,  op.  at. 

-    These  Sea-Dayaks,  together  with  those  of  the  Undup,  also  an  affluent  of  the 
og    Lupar,   subsequently  became  the  mainstay  of  the  Government  against  the 
Saribas  and  Sckrangs. 


THE   PIRATES  101 

under  the  Rajah  and  Lieutenant  Horton,  started  the  next 
day.  During  the  night  they  were  repeatedly  attacked  by 
the  pirates,  who,  under  cover  of  the  darkness,  closed  in  on 
their  assailants,  especially  where  some  marines  held  a  post 
on  a  cleared  height  overlooking  the  river.  The  pirates  lost 
a  good  many  men,  and  the  next  morning,  seeing  the  force 
again  preparing  to  advance,  sent  in  a  flag  of  truce  and  sued 
for  mercy.  The  Rajah  then  met  their  chiefs  and  explained 
to  them  that  it  was  in  consequence  of  their  acts  of  piracy 
that  they  were  now  punished  ;  that  they  had  been  cautioned 
two  years  previously  to  abstain  from  these  marauding  ex- 
peditions, and  that  they  had  disregarded  this  monition  ;  he 
assured  them  that  they  would  be  unmolested  if  they  abstained 
from  molesting  others,  but  that  if  they  continued  to  prey  on 
their  neighbours  and  to  interfere  with  trading  vessels  they 
would  receive  further  castigation. 

It  was  proposed  to  these  people  that  the  towns  of  Paku 
and  Rembas  should  be  spared,  if  they  would  guarantee  the 
future  good  conduct  of  the  inhabitants.  They  coolly  replied 
that  those  people  deserved  the  same  punishment,  which  had 
better  be  administered,  otherwise  they  would  continue  pirat- 
ing, and  would  lead  the  Padi  people  astray  again. 

Paku  was  taken  on  the  14th,  and  burnt;  here  no  resist- 
ance was  met  with.  The  next  day  the  chiefs  submitted. 
On  the  17th,  Rembas  was  attacked  and  taken,  the  Balau 
Dayaks,  under  Sherip  Japar,  having  all  the  fighting  to  do. 
This  was  the  largest  and  strongest  town,  and  much  plunder 
was  secured.  After  receiving  the  submission  of  the  Rembas 
chiefs  the  expedition  returned  to  Kuching,  having,  in  seven 
days,  destroyed  the  strongholds  of  the  most  powerful  and 
dreaded  pirates  on  the  north-west  coast  of  Borneo,  who  for 
years  had  defied  both  Bruni  and  Sarawak.  Such  an  im- 
pression was  produced,  that  the  Sekrangs  sent  messages 
promising  to  abstain  from  piracy,  and  offering,  if  they  were 
spared,  to  give  up  a  hundred  women  and  children  captives  ; 
and  Sherips  Mular  and  Sahap,  fearing  the  punishment  they 
so  richly  deserved,  sent  professions  of  future  good  conduct. 
These  were  not  accepted,  but  the  day  of  reckoning  had  to  be 
deferred,  for  Keppel  had  received  orders  to  return  to  China. 


102  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

The  Saribas  had  suffered,  but  not  the  redoubtable 
Sekrangs,  and  the  former  not  so  severely  but  that  in  a 
couple  of  years  all  their  losses  could  be  repaired,  their 
stockades  be  rebuilt,  and  fresh  prahus  constructed,  and  the 
old  story  of  blood  and  rapine  continued  with  little  inter- 
mission, not  only  by  them,  but  by  the  Lanuns  and  Sekrangs 
as  well. 

A  year  was  to  elapse  before  Keppel's  return  ;  and  we 
will  now  record  in  their  sequence  the  few  events  of  interest 
that  happened  during  this  short  period. 

About  a  month  after  the  departure  of  the  Dido,  the 
Samarang,  Captain  Sir  Edward  Belcher,  arrived  at  Kuching. 
Sir  Edward  had  been  sent,  consequent  on  Rajah  Brooke's 
actions  and  recommendations,  to  inquire  personally  into 
and  report  officially  upon  the  affairs  and  capabilities  of 
north-west  Borneo.      As  Sir  Spenser  St.  John  writes — a 

This  visit  was  as  useless  as  such  visits  usually  are.  What  can 
the  most  acute  naval  officer  understand  of  a  country  during  a  few- 
days'  or  weeks'  visit  ?  He  can  describe  more  or  less  accurately  its 
outward  appearance  ;  but  to  understand  its  internal  politics  is  not 
possible  in  the  time.  And  yet  on  such  comparatively  valueless 
reports  the  British  Government  relies  in  a  majority  of  cases.  Mr. 
Brooke  suffered  more  than  any  other  pioneer  of  civilisation  from 
the  system. 

On  getting  under  way  to  proceed  to  Bruni  the  Sama- 
rang grounded  on  a  rocky  ledge  off  the  town,  and  Sir 
Edward's  brief  visit  was  protracted  by  a  fortnight.  The 
ship,  which  lay  in  an  extremely  critical  position,  was  righted 
and  got  off  the  rocks  before  the  Harlequin,  Wanderer,  \rixen, 
and  Diana  arrived  to  assist  her.  Accompanied  by  the 
Rajah,  Sir  Edward  proceeded  to  Bruni  towards  the  end  of 
August,  but  the  latter's  visit  was  very  short  ;  he  saw  the 
Sultan  for  two  hours  only,  and  then,  as  small-pox  was  rag- 
ing in  Bruni,  departed  for  Singapore."  The  principal  object 
of  the    Rajah's  visit  was  obtained,  as  he  was  enabled  to  bear 

1  Life  cf  Sir  James  Brooke,  p.  84. 

-  Sir  Edward's  report  upon  Sarawak  appears  to  have  been  favourable;  he 
pronounced  the  coal  at  Bruni,  which  he  never  examined,  u>  \  e  unworkable,  and  the 
Sultan  to  be  a  savage. 


THE   PIRATES  103 

away  a  deed  granting  Sarawak  in  perpetuity  to  him  and  to 
the  heirs  of  his  appointment. 

In  December  the  Rajah  left  for  Singapore,  and  there 
the  next  month  he  received  the  news  of  his  mother's  death. 
To  quote  the  Rajah,  after  the  first  shock,  he  resolved  to 
seek  in  activity  a  relief  from  the  lowness  of  spirits  which  he 
suffered.  This  led  him  to  join  an  expedition  to  punish 
certain  pirates  on  the  coast  of  Sumatra  for  injuries  done  to 
British  ships.  The  ships  employed  were  the  Harlequin, 
Captain  the  Hon.  G.  Hastings  ;  the  Wanderer,  Captain 
Seymour,  with  whom  the  Rajah  sailed,  and  the  East  India 
Company's  steamer,  the  Diana.  At  Achin  x  they  found  the 
once  powerful  Sultan  unable  to  control  or  punish  his  own 
subjects,  and  the  ships  then  proceeded  to  Batu  and  Murdu, 
the  strongholds  of  the  pirates.  The  former  town  was  burnt 
without  offering  much  resistance,  but  the  latter  gave  them  a 
tough  fight  of  five  hours  before  it  was  taken.  The  pirates 
lost  from  fifty  to  seventy  men  killed  and  wounded,  the 
English  two  killed,  and  about  a  dozen  wounded,  amongst 
whom  was  the  Rajah,  who  was  shot  inside  the  right  arm, 
and  had  an  eyebrow  cut  in  two  by  a  spear.  This  was  on 
February  1  2,  1  844. 

In  Singapore  the  Rajah  purchased  a  new  vessel,  the 
Julia,  having  sold  the  Royalist ;  the  Julia  was  fitted  as  a 
gunboat.  Early  in  June  he  returned  to  Sarawak  in  the 
Harlequin. 

He  found  that  during  his  absence,  his  old  enemy,  Sherip 
Sahap,  had  built  many  war-boats,  and  had  made  great  pre- 
parations for  offensive  operations.  Kuching  was  supposed  to 
be  his  object,  and  it  had  been  put  in  a  state  of  defence,  but 
on  the  Rajah's  return  Sahap  deemed  it  advisable  to  retire  to 
the  Batang  Lupar,  and  taking  with  him  a  large  force  marked 
his  course  with  bloodshed  and  rapine.  He  then  fortified 
himself  at  Patusan,  below  the  Sekrang,  and  the  Dayaks 
were  sent  out  ravaging  in  every  direction.  Eight  villages 
were  burnt  in  the  Sadong,  the  Samarahan  people  were 
attacked,  and  many  women  and  children  were  captured. 
A    party    even    ventured    into    Sarawak,    and    cut    off    two 

1  Pronounced  by  the  natives  Acki. 


104  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

Singgi  Dayaks  on  their  farm,  but  they  did  not  get  off 
scot  free,  for  the  Rajah,  starting  in  the  middle  of  the 
night,  intercepted  their  return  and  gave  them  a  sharp 
lesson. 

Patusan,1  the  stronghold  of  Sherip  Sahap,  with  whom 
was  Pangiran  Makota,  was  on  the  left-hand  bank  of  the 
Batang  Lupar,  about  fifteen  miles  below  the  Undup  stream, 
up  which,  about  seven  miles  from  the  mouth,  was  the 
stockaded  town  of  Sahap's  brother,  Sherip  Mular.  Besides 
numerous  Malays,  these  sherips  were  supported  by  the 
Sekrang  Dayaks,  then  estimated  to  number  some  10,000 
fighting  men,  and  these  warriors,  though  they  might  not 
recognise  the  power  of  the  sherips  over  them  in  other 
matters,  were  always  ready  to  respond  to  a  summons  to 
engage  in  a  plundering  raid. 

Captain  Keppel  had  been  long  expected,  but  the  Dido 
had  been  detained  in  India,  and  when  she  arrived  on  July 
30,  with  the  welcome  addition  of  the  H.E.I.C's  steamer 
Phlegetkofiy  preparations  for  the  coming  expedition  against 
the  Batang  Lupar  were  so  well  forward  that  it  was  enabled  to 
start  almost  immediately.  On  board  the  Dido  was  the 
Rajah's  favourite  nephew,  midshipman  Charles  Johnson,  who 
eight  years  later  became  the  Tuan  Muda  of  Sarawak,  and 
who  ultimately  succeeded  his  uncle  as  Rajah. 

The  combined  force  of  blue-jackets,  Malays,  and  Dayaks, 
headed  by  the  PJilegethon,  started  from  Kuching  on  August 
5th,  and  on  the  7th  were  off  Patusan.  This  place  was  well 
fortified,  sixty-four  brass  besides  many  iron  guns  were  taken 
there,"  and  its  five  forts  were  captured,  with  heavy  loss  to 
the  pirates.  The  attacking  party  lost  only  one  man  killed, 
the  captain  of  the  main-top  of  the  Dido,  who  was  cut  in  two 
by  a  cannon-shot  whilst  loading  the  bow-gun  of  the  Jolly 
Bachelor ;  close  to  him  was  the  present  Rajah,  who 
fortunately  escaped  unhurt. 

So  confident  had  Sherip  Sahap  and  Pangiran  Makota 
been  in  the  impregnability  of  their  strongholds  that  they 
had  not  taken  the  usual    precaution  of  sending  their  women, 

1   More  correctly  Putusan,  or  Perautus.     We  retain  the  old  spelling. 
-    These  guns  realised  ^900  at  public  auction  in  Singapore. 


THE  PRESENT   RAJAH  AS  A  MIDSHIPMAN. 


THE   PIRATES  107 

children,  and  property  of  value,  to  a  distant  place  of  refuge. 
On  their  flight  the  unfortunate  children  were  placed  in 
different  nooks  and  corners. 

After  having  completely  destroyed  the  town  of  Patusan, 
and  Makota's  town  about  a  mile  above,  the  expedition  moved 
on  upon  the  10th.  The  PJdegetJwn  was  taken  up  as  far  as 
the  Sekrang,  a  very  bold  proceeding  considering  the  dangerous 
nature  of  the  river,  and  the  force  was  divided  into  three 
divisions,  to  ascend  the  Undup,  the  Sekrang,  and  the  main- 
river  ;  but  the  pirates,  chiefly  Malays,  offered  such  a  stubborn 
resistance  in  the  Undup  that  these  divisions  had  to  be  reunited 
to  make  a  simultaneous  attack.  The  gallant  Datu  Patinggi 
Ali  here  distinguished  himself  in  a  hand-to-hand  fight  with 
the  enemy  ;  it  was  witnessed  by  the  blue-jackets,  who  hailed 
him  with  three  hearty  British  cheers  on  his  return.  It  took 
the  force  the  whole  day  to  cut  through  the  heavy  log  barriers 
that  had  been  placed  across  the  river  below  Mular's  town, 
which  the  enemy  deserted  during  the  night,  retiring  to  a 
Dayak  village  some  twenty-five  miles  farther  up  the  river. 
After  an  arduous  journey  of  two  days  the  landing-place  of 
the  village  was  reached  ;  here  occurred  a  brush  with  the 
pirates,  who  were  pushed  back,  and  old  Datu  Patinggi 
nearly  covered  himself  with  glory  by  almost  capturing 
Sherip  Mular,  who  saved  himself  by  ignominiously  jump- 
ing into  the  river  and  swimming  ashore.  A  little  later, 
Captain  Keppel  and  Lieutenant  Wade  with  some  seven  men 
surprised  a  large  force  of  pirates  waiting  behind  a  point  ; 
these  were  so  taken  by  surprise  that  they  were  easily  routed, 
but  Lieutenant  Wade  rushing  on  in  pursuit  was  struck  by  two 
rifle-shots,  and  fell  at  his  commander's  feet  mortally  wounded. 
The  Dayak  village  was  then  attacked,  and  the  enemy 
scattered. 

On  the  15  th,  the  Phlegethon  was  reached,  and  on  the 
17th,  a  force  started  up  the  Sekrang  to  administer  a  lesson 
to  the  notorious  Dayak  pirates  of  that  river,  who  had  been 
making  their  presence  felt  in  an  unpleasant  manner,  con- 
tinuously annoying  the  force  at  night  time  by  hanging  about 
on  the  river  banks  and  killing  and  wounding  several  of  the 
Malay  and   Dayak   members  of  the  force.      The  expedition 


io8  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

consisted  of  seven  of  the  Dido's  and  Phlegethoris  boats,  and 
the  Jolly  Bachelor,  with  a  division  of  a  few  light  native  boats 
under  Datu  Patinggi  Ali  as  a  vanguard,  and  the  rest  of  the 
Sarawak  contingent  behind  as  a  reserve.  On  the  I  9th,  the 
enemy  made  a  determined  stand,  blocking  the  advance  of 
Patinggi  Ali's  division  with  a  formidable  array  of  war-boats, 
and  with  thousands  of  men  on  each  bank,  who  had  selected 
positions  where  they  could  effectively  use  their  javelins 
and  blow-pipes.  Instead  of  falling  back  upon  the  main 
body,  old  Ali  bravely  dashed  on,  followed  by  his  little  con- 
tingent. A  desperate  encounter  against  fearful  odds  ensued, 
and  before  the  ships'  boats  could  come  to  his  support  the  fine 
old  Malay  chief1  had  fallen  along  with  a  Mr.  Steward,2  and 
twenty-nine  of  his  devoted  followers,  fifty-six  more  being 
wounded.  The  gun  and  rocket  fire  of  the  boats  soon  turned 
the  tables,  and  the  Dayaks  retreated  from  their  position 
with  considerable  loss.  The  same  day  their  town  was 
destroyed,  and  the  expedition  returned.  At  Patusan,  which 
was  reached  on  the  22nd,  Captain  Sir  Edward  Belcher,  with 
the  boats  of  the  Samarang,  joined  them,  but  too  late  to 
render  any  service.  At  Kuching  there  was  barely  time 
to  get  the  sick  and  wounded  into  comfortable  quarters 
before  news  arrived  that  Sherip  Sahap  had  joined  Sherip 
Japar  at  Lingga,  and  was  again  collecting  his  followers. 
With  the  addition  of  the  Samarang's  boats,  the  force 
immediately  started  for  Lingga  ;  Sherip  Sahap  hastily 
retired,  and,  though  closely  pursued,  escaped  over  the  border  ; 
Sherip  Japar  was  deposed  from  his  governorship  of  Lingga  ; 
and  Pangiran   Makota   was   captured  and  sent  a  prisoner  on 

1  The  Patinggi  was  always  ready  and  ever  to  the  fore  where  tough  work  and 
hard  knocks  were  going,  and  he  was  the  guiding  and  leading  spirit  in  such  expedi- 
tions as  was  this.  "Three  fingered  Jack"  the  Dido's  crew  had  clubbed  him, 
hiving  that  strong  regard  for  him  that  brave  men  bear  towards  another  though  his 
skin  be  of  a  different  complexion — for  he  had  lost  two  fingers  in  a  former  encounter. 
The  type  has  since  changed,  and  the  courtly,  intrepid,  and  determined  fighting 
Malay  chief  has  gone — and  he  is  missed.  "  I  sigh  for  some  of  the  old  hands  that 
could  not  read  or  write,  but  could  work,  and  had  more  sound  wisdom  in  their  little 
fingers  than  many  popinjay  gentlemen  of  the  present  day  carry  in  their  heads,"  so 
wrote  the  present  Rajah  ten  years  ago. 

-  Mr.  George  Stew. ml,  formerly  of  the  H.E. I. C's  maritime  service,  had  been 
-•iit  out  by  the  Rajah's  agent,  Mr.  Wise,  on  a  trading  venture.  He  joined  the  ex- 
pedition as  a  volunteer,  and  had  concealed  itself  in  Patinggi  Ali's  boat,  where  he 
should  not  have  been. 


THE   PIRATES  109 

board  the  PJilegetlion.  The  Rajah  then  held  a  meeting  of  all 
the  Malay  chiefs  of  the  surrounding  country,  and  in  an 
eloquent  speech  impressed  upon  them  the  determination  of 
the  British  Government  to  suppress  piracy  ;  dwelt  upon  the 
blessings  arising  from  peace  and  trade,  and  concluded  by 
saying  that  the  measures  lately  adopted  against  piracy  were 
taken  for  the  protection  of  all  the  peaceful  communities 
along  the  coast.  "  So  great  was  the  attention  bestowed 
during  the  delivery  of  his  speech  that  the  dropping  of  a 
pin  might  have  been  heard."  x  On  September  4th,  the  force 
again  reached  Kuching. 

Sherip  Sahap,  after  residing  for  a  short  time  in  the 
Kapuas,  in  Dutch  Borneo,  died  of  a  broken  heart  at 
Pontianak.  Sherip  Millar,  who  also  escaped  over  the 
border,  subsequently  sued  for  forgiveness,  but  this  was  then 
refused.2  Sherip  Japar,  who  the  previous  year  had  rendered 
good  service  against  the  Saribas  pirates,  was  removed  to 
Ensingai  in  the  Sadong.  Pangiran  Makota,  who  so  richly 
deserved  death,  and  who  as  a  matter  of  policy  alone,  as  well 
as  in  the  interests  of  humanity,  should  have  been  executed, 
was  spared  by  the  Rajah,  and  allowed  to  retire  to  Bruni, 
with  what  results  we  have  already  noted. 

Early  the  next  year  the  Saribas  and  Sekrang  Dayaks 
visited  the  Rajah  at  Kuching  and  formally  tendered  their 
submission.  The  promises  then  made  of  future  good 
behaviour  would  probably  have  been  observed,  and  those,  of 
which  there  was  now  a  large  party,  in  favour  of  peace  have 
been  upheld,  had  the  British  Government  afforded  the  Rajah 
continuous  support  for  a  short  time,  even  in  the  shape  of  a 
small  brig-of-war.  "  We  must  progress  or  retrograde  "  was 
the  Rajah's  timely,  though  unheeded  warning.  But  the 
desired  support  was  denied,  and  gradually  the  piratical 
party  again  became  dominant,  and  in  less  than  two  years 
found  themselves  in  a  position  once  more  to  defy  the 
Rajah,  and  to   spread  terror  along  the  coast.      But  with  this, 

1  Keppel,  op.  cit.  We  have  taken  our  account  of  the  expedition  up  the  Batang 
Lupar  mainly  from  Keppel's  narrative,  the  only  original  history  of  these  operations 
hitherto  published. 

2  He  was  afterwards  pardoned  and  permitted  to  reside  at  Sekrang  town,  where 
he  died. 


no  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

and    their    final,   though    tardy    punishment,    we    shall    deal 
later. 

The  Rajah  seeing  how  precarious  his  position  was,  had 
offered  the  cession  of  Sarawak  to  the  British  Crown  without 
remuneration,  though  he  had  now  laid  out  £10,000  upon 
its  development.  He  showed  how  by  developing  the  trade 
and  the  natural  wealth  of  the  land  through  British  influence, 
river  after  river  might  be  opened  up  to  commerce.  He 
entreated  that  steady  and  unremitting  efforts  should  be 
made  for  the  suppression  of  piracy.  But  the  Government 
shrank  from  the  extension  of  its  Colonies,  it  was  afraid  of 
being  dragged  into  a  second  New  Zealand  scheme,  and  it 
consented,  reluctantly,  to  afford  him  help,  and  that  but 
inadequate,  against  the  pirates. 

"  It  is  easy,"  wrote  the  Rajah  at  the  close  of  the  previous  year, 
"  for  men  to  perform  fine  feats  with  the  pen  :  it  is  easy  for  the  rich 
man  to  give  yearly  thousands  in  charity  :  it  is  easy  to  preach  against 
the  slave  trade,  or  to  roar  against  piracy  ;  it  is  easy  to  bustle  about 
London,  and  get  up  associations  for  all  kinds  of  objects — all  this 
is  easy,  but  it  is  not  easy  to  stand  alone — to  be  exiled — to  lay  out 
a  small  fortune — to  expend  life  and  health  and  money — to  risk  life 
itself,  when  the  loss  would  be  without  glory  and  without  gain.  .  .  . 
I  am  enabled  to  dispense  happiness  and  peace  to  many  thousand 
persons.  I  stand  alone  ;  I  appeal  for  assistance  and  gain  none ;  I 
have  struggled  for  four  years  bearing  my  life  in  my  hand.  I  hold 
a  commanding  position  and  influence  over  the  natives  ;  I  feel  it  my 
paramount  duty  to  gain  protection  and  some  power.  I  state  it  in 
so  many  plain  words,  and  if,  after  all,  I  am  left  to  my  own  resources 
the  fault  of  failure  is  not  with  me.  This  negotiation  with  Govern- 
ment is  nearly  at  an  end,  or  if  protracted,  if  I  perceive  any  intention 
of  delay,  or  any  coolness,  I  will  myself  break  it  off  and  trust  to  God 
and  my  own  wits.  .  .  If  they  act  cordially  they  will  either  give  me 
a  plain  negative  or  some  power  to  act,  in  order  that  I  may  carry 
out  my  views.  If  they  haggle  and  bargain  any  further  I  will  none 
of  them,  or  if  they  bother  me  with  their  suspicions,  or  send  any 
more  gentlemen  for  the  purpose  of  espionage,  I  will  assert  the  in- 
dependence I  feel,  and  send  them  all  to  the  devil. 

This,  it  must  be  remembered,  was  in  a  private  letter. 
His  position  was  precarious.  He,  with  less  than  half-a- 
dozen  Englishmen,  had  established  himself  as  reigning  prince 
over   Sarawak  ;    its    population    consisted    mainly   of    timid 


THE   PIRATES  in 

Land-Dayaks,  useless  in  warfare,  and  there  were  only  a  few 
hundred  Malays  and  Sea-Dayaks  upon  whom  he  could  rely 
to  protect  the  little  State  against  its  powerful  and  actively 
hostile  neighbours.  Even  his  own  people  were  in  a  condition 
of  tension  and  hesitation,  not  knowing  whether  the  arm  of 
England  would  be  extended  in  his  support,  or  be  withdrawn, 
leaving  him  to  succumb  under  the  krises  of  assassins. 

It  is  perhaps  as  well  that  the  British  Government  did 
leave  the  Rajah  so  much  alone  ;  that  he  was  able  to  exercise 
a  free  hand  to  carry  out  his  own  ideas,  and  that  he  was  not 
crossed  or  hampered  by  the  changing  policies  of  the  different 
Cabinets  that  came  into  power — some  ready  to  extend  the 
limits  of  the  Empire,  others  shrinking  from  responsibilities, 
and  seeking  to  contract  the  sphere  of  British  influence  within 
the  narrowest  limits,  but  all  timid  and  nervous  of  opposition 
from  the  adverse  party.  The  little  State  has  thus  had  the 
advantage  of  having  been  governed  for  just  seventy  years 
directly  by  two  of  the  ablest  rulers  of  Orientals,  having  an 
intimate  knowledge  of  their  subjects  and  their  requirements, 
and  governing  with  their  people,  instead  of  having  been  sub- 
ject to  the  capricious  and  often  stupid  government  of  the 
Colonial  Office,  and  of  ever-changing  governors.  Unfor- 
tunately the  late  Rajah  was  subsequently  "  crossed  and 
hampered  "  from  home,  notably  by  the  little  England  party 
at  whose  head  stood  Mr.  Gladstone,  and  the  greatest  evil  was 
done  to  Sarawak  by  his  own  countrymen  supported  by  a 
timorous  Government.  Happily,  the  English  rajahs,  the 
second  as  well  as  the  first,  by  their  honesty  of  purpose  and 
their  inflexibility  of  resolution  gathered  about  them  a  host  of 
native  adherents  ;  these  they  inspired  with  self-respect,  and 
confidence  in  their  rulers,  and  thus  formed  a  mass  of  public 
opinion  that  went  far  towards  making  their  rule  permanent,  and 
enabled  it  to  withstand  checks  from  within  and  from  without. 

The  Dutch  at  this  time  had  been  making  praiseworthy 
efforts  to  check  the  Lanuns  ;  they  had  destroyed  several 
piratical  fleets,  and  were  preparing  on  a  large  scale  to  drive 
them  off  the  seas  ;   in  this,  however,  they  failed. 

For  some  time  the  Rajah  was  free  from  his  troublesome 
neighbours,    and    he    devoted    his    time    to    the    affairs    of 


ii2  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

his  little  State,  the  population  of  which  had  just  received 
an  addition  of  5000  families  of  Malays  from  the  disturbed 
districts  along  the  coast. 

Xot  till  Hasim  and  his  train  of  obstructive  and  rapacious 
hangers-on   had  departed   from  Sarawak   could   the  benefits 
of  the  Rajah's  administration  take  complete  effect.      So  long 
as  these  men  remained,  with  their  traditions  of  misrule,  and 
their  distorted  ideas  of  the  relation  between  the  governor  and 
the  governed,  a  thousand  difficulties  were  interposed,  thwarting 
the   Rajah's    efforts,  and   these  had  to  be  circumvented   or 
overcome.     The  pangirans,  great  and  small,  great  in  their  self- 
confidence,  proud  of  the  mischief  they  had  wrought,  small  and 
mean  in  their  selfish  aims,  viewed  the  introduction  of  reform 
with  ill-disguised  hostility  ;   and   the    Rajah   Muda  Hasim  in 
their  midst  formed  a  nucleus   about  whom   disaffection   and 
intrigue    must    inevitably    gather    and    grow    to    a    head. 
Only  Bedrudin  was  heart  and  soul  with  the  Rajah,  so  far  as 
his  lights  went.      He  was  a  man  of  intelligence  and  generous 
spirit,   who    had    taken    the   lesson    to    heart    that    by    good 
government,  the  encouragement  of  commerce  and  the  peace- 
ful arts,  the  country  would  thrive  and  the  revenue  in   conse- 
quence largely  increase,  and  that  his  brother  pangirans  were 
blindly  and  stupidly  killing  the  goose  that  laid  golden  eggs. 
To  him  the  Rajah  was  sincerely  attached,  and   the  attach- 
ment   was   reciprocated.      Personally,   the   Rajah  was    sorry 
when  Bedrudin  had  to   return   with   his   brothers   to   Bruni  ; 
but    the     Sultan's    recall    was  imperative,    and    it    obviated 
all   risk   of  the   prince   being   made,  unwillingly,  a   gathering 
point   of    faction.      It    was    advisable,   moreover,  that  there 
should  be  near  the  Sultan's  ear  a  man  like  Bedrudin,   who 
would  give  wise  counsel  ;  and    Hasim,  weak  and   vacillating 
as  he  was,  could   show  his  nephew  by  his  own   experience 
that  advantage  would  accrue  to   him   by  adopting   a   policy 
favourable  to   British  enterprise,  and  by   warning  him   that 
disaster,  though  approaching  with  lagging  feet,  must  overtake 
him  inevitably  if  he  attempted  to  thwart  it.     Furthermore,  the 
Sultan  had  been  loud  in  his  professions  of  affection  for  his  dear 
absent  uncles,  and  of  his  desire  to  have  them  about  his  person. 
Early  in  October,  H.M.S.  Samarang,  Captain  Sir  Edward 


THE  PIRATES  113 

Belcher,  and  the  H.E.I. C's  steamer  Phlegetho7i,  arrived  to 
convey  to  Bruni,  Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  his  brothers,  and  their 
numerous  families,  retainers,  slaves,  and  hangers-on.  The 
Rajah  himself  went  up  in  the  Samarang.  On  approaching 
Bruni  there  were  signs  of  hostility  from  four  forts  on  Pulo 
Cheremin,  which  Pangiran  Usup  had  frightened  the  Sultan 
into  building,  but  the  flag  of  Hasim  reassured  the  Brunis. 
The  exiles  were  well  received.  The  Sultan  declared  he 
would  listen  to  no  other  adviser  than  Hasim,  and  the  people 
were  in  favour  of  him.  Though  Pangiran  Usup  had  gained 
great  influence  over  the  Sultan  he  deemed  it  prudent  to 
dissemble,  and  declared  himself  ready  implicitly  to  obey 
Hasim,  and  as  a  proof  of  good  faith  at  once  dismantled 
the  new  forts  on  Hasim  ordering  him  to  do  so.  The  poorer 
classes,  who  had  heard  of  the  peace  and  security  enjoyed  by 
the  inhabitants  of  Sarawak,  openly  expressed  their  desire  that 
the  Rajah  should  remain  and  govern  conjointly  with  Pangiran 
Muda  Hasim.  Labuan  island,  which  the  Sultan  now  offered 
the  Rajah,  was  examined,  and  the  Rajah  considered  it  superior 
to  Kuching  for  a  settlement,  as  being  in  a  more  central  and 
more  commanding  position.1 

In  February,  1845,  Captain  Bethune  of  H.M.S.  Driver, 
anchored  in  the  Sarawak  river,  and  brought  a  despatch  from 
Lord  Aberdeen  appointing  the  Rajah  confidential  agent  in 
Borneo  to  her  Majesty,  an  appointment  made  mainly  upon 
the  Rajah's  own  suggestion  that  official  recognition  would  go 
far  to  help  him.  He  at  once  proceeded  to  Bruni  in  the 
Driver,  bearing  a  letter  from  the  Foreign  Office  to  the  Sultan 
in  reply  to  his  letters  requesting  assistance  to  suppress 
piracy  ;  and  Captain  Bethune  had  been  directed  to  select  a 
suitable  locality  on  the  N.VV.  coast  for  the  formation  of  a 
British  settlement,  whence  the  sea  along  the  north  and  west 
coasts  might  be  watched,  and  where  there  was  coal  suitable 
for  a  coaling  station. 

The  letter  was  received  by  the  Sultan  and  his  pangirans 
with  due  honours,  and  the  Rajah  told  them  that  he  "  was 
deputed  by  her  Majesty  the  Queen  to  express  her  feelings 

1  Labuan,  however,  proved  a  failure  as  a  trading  centre,  and  in  that  respect  has 
taken  a  very  secondary  position  to  Kuching. 

I 


ii4  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

of  goodwill,  and  to  offer  every  assistance  in  repressing  piracy 
in  these  seas."  The  Sultan  stared.  Muda  Hasim  said, 
"  We  are  greatly  indebted  ;  it  is  good,  very  good."1  And  the 
Sultan  had  reason  to  stare.  Pangiran  Usup,  who  was  also 
present,  was  no  doubt  likewise  too  much  taken  aback  to  do 
anything  else,  ready  as  he  was  with  his  tongue,  for  such  a 
proffer  was  as  unexpected  as  it  was  unwelcome.  Hitherto 
they  had  imagined,  and  with  some  reason,  that  owing  to  its 
slowness  and  inaction,  the  British  Government  was  luke- 
warm in  its  intentions  to  suppress  piracy  ;  that  outward 
professions  would  not  be  taken  seriously,  and  were  all  that 
was  needed  of  them  to  cover  their  secret  encouragement  of 
their  piratical  neighbours.  The  Sultan,  however,  was  a 
clever  dissembler  ;  he  joined  with  Hasim  in  expressing  a 
hope  that  with  the  Rajah's  assistance  the  government  of 
Bruni  might  be  settled,  piracy  suppressed,  and  trade  fostered. 
The  Rajah  then  went  to  Singapore  to  meet  the  Admiral, 
Sir  Thomas  Cochrane,  and  to  endeavour  to  interest  him  in 
Bornean  affairs,  to  gain  his  assistance  against  the  pirates,  and 
in  support  of  the  party  in  Bruni  that  was  in  favour  of  reform. 
He  was  successful  as  the  sequel  will  show,  and  in  May 
returned  to  Bruni  in  the  PJdegetJioii.  He  then  discovered  to 
his  no  little  concern  that  the  Princes  Hasim  and  Bedrudin 
were  in  such  danger  that  their  brothers  begged  to  be  allowed 
to  return  to  Sarawak.  They  were  exposed  to  the  intrigues 
of  Pangiran  Usup,  who  had  not  only  poisoned  the  mind  of 
the  Sultan  against  his  uncles  of  legitimate  blood,  but  who  was 
also  bitterly  hostile  to  English  interference  with  piracy,  which 
was  the  main  source  of  his  revenue.  The  imbecile  Sultan, 
vicious  at  heart,  and  himself  a  participator  in  the  spoils  of 
piracy,  was  of  too  contracted  a  mind  to  be  able  to  conceive 
the  advantages  that  could  be  obtained  were  his  capital  con- 
verted from  a  nest  of  brigands  and  slaves  into  an  emporium 
of  commerce  ;  and  he  was  totally  indifferent  to  the  welfare 
of  the  greater  portion  of  his  subjects,  who  being  pagans,  were 
created   by  Allah  to  be  preyed  upon  by  the  true  believers.8 

1    Journals,   Keppel,  Op.  tit. 

-  The  pirates  and  their  supporters,  however,  preyed  upon  lslams  as  well  as  infidels, 
and  religion  was  a  dead  letter  to  them  in  this  respect.  Quite  contrary  to  the  tenets 
of  their  faith,  true  believers  who  were  captured  were  sold  into  slavery. 


THE   PIRATES  115 

He  was  accordingly  induced  to  listen  to  Usup,  of  whom  he 
was  really  frightened,  and  to  mistrust  Hasim  and  Bedrudin. 
To  add  to  Hasim's  troubles,  the  pirate  chief  of  Marudu, 
Sherip  Usman,  had  sent  a  defiant  message  threatening  to 
attack  him  for  favouring  the  English.  If  unsupported,  the 
Rajah  foresaw  that  Hasim  would  be  dragged  into  a  civil  war 
which  might  end  in  his  downfall.  His  life  was  in  peril  owing 
to  his  leaning  towards  the  British  Government,  and  the  Rajah 
was  determined  to  uphold  him  ;  if  necessary,  by  bringing  a 
force  from  Sarawak  to  carry  Bruni.  If  too  late  to  save 
him  and  Bedrudin,  he  resolved  to  burn  Bruni  from  end  to 
end,  and  take  care  it  should  remain  afterwards  in  desolation. 

The  Rajah  again  proceeded  to  Singapore,  and  sufficiently 
interested  the  Admiral  in  Bruni  affairs  to  induce  him  to  call 
at  that  place  with  his  squadron  on  his  way  to  China.  A 
fresh  outrage  by  Sherip  Usman  in  plundering  and  burning  a 
brig  decided  the  Admiral  to  take  measures  against  him,  and 
by  his  detention  in  slavery  of  two  British  subjects  Pangiran 
Usup  himself  gave  sufficient  cause  to  call  for  punishment  ; 
these  captives  he  had  placed  in  confinement  whenever  a  man- 
of-war  appeared. 

On  August  9,  Sir  Thomas  Cochrane  had  an  interview 
with  the  Sultan,  and  the  following  morning  called  upon  him 
for  the  restoration  of  the  captives  held  by  Usup,  and  for 
his  punishment.  The  Sultan  replied  that  Usup  refused 
obedience  to  him,  and  that  he  was  powerless  to  enforce 
it,  and,  as  the  offence  was  committed  against  the  British, 
he  requested  the  Admiral  himself  to  take  Usup  in  hand. 
Though  the  Admiral  had  brought  a  line-of-battle  ship,  two 
frigates,  two  brigs,  and  three  steamers,  Usup,  "  strong  in  the 
idea  of  his  strength,"  was  foolhardy  enough  to  defy  him,  and 
prepare  for  resistance.  A  shot  was  fired  over  his  house  from 
the  Vixen,  which  was  replied  to  by  the  guns  of  his  fortified 
house,  thereupon  the  steamer  poured  in  a  broadside  and 
knocked  the  house  to  shivers.  Usup  fled  with  the  few 
retainers  he  had  with  him — he  had  taken  the  precaution  to 
send  away  his  women  and  treasure  the  day  before.  We 
will  return  to  him  shortly. 

The   fleet  then  sailed  to  call    Sherip  Usman   to  account. 


n6  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

His  stronghold  in  Marudu  Bay  was  attacked  by  a  force  of 
550  men  in  twenty-four  boats,  and  after  a  stout  resistance 
was  taken  with  a  loss  of  some  twenty  killed  and  wounded. 
Amongst  the  former  was  Lieutenant  Gibbard,  and  near 
him,  when  he  fell,  was  the  present  Rajah,  then  a  midship- 
man on  the  Wolverine.  The  pirates  suffered  heavily.  Many 
sherips  and  chiefs  were  killed,  and  Sherip  Usman  was  him- 
self mortally  wounded — he  was  carried  away  to  die  in  the 
jungle.  As  in  the  Batang  Lupar  the  year  previously,  several 
proofs  of  piracies  committed  upon  European  vessels  here 
came  to  light  in  the  shape  of  articles  taken  from  ships  ;  and 
such  articles  would  probably  have  been  more  numerous  had 
there  not  been  a  market  in  Singapore  for  the  more  valuable 
commodities. 

The  Rajah  now  returned  to  Sarawak  in  the  Cruiser, 
visiting  Bruni  on  his  way.  Here  he  learnt  that  two  days 
after  he  had  left  the  town,  Pangiran  Usup,  full  of  rage  and 
resentment,  had  gathered  a  force  to  attack  Bruni  and  take 
and  kill  Pangiran  Muda  Hasim,  and  his  brother  Pangiran 
Bedrudin,  but  the  latter  met  him,  inflicted  on  him  a  signal 
defeat,  and  Usup  was  constrained  to  fly  to  Kimanis,  some 
seventy-five  miles  to  the  north-east  of  the  capital,  over  which 
district  he  was  feudary  lord.  Then  the  two  uncles  insisted 
upon  their  nephew  the  Sultan  issuing  a  decree  for  his 
execution.  This  was  done,  and  the  order  transmitted  to  the 
headman  at  Kimanis.  It  was  carried  out  by  him  with 
characteristic  perfidy.  Pretending  to  entertain  a  lively 
friendship  for  the  refugee,  he  seized  an  opportunity,  when 
Usup  had  laid  aside  his  weapons  in  order  to  bathe,  to  fall 
upon  him  and  strangle  him.  His  brother,  Pangiran  Yakub, 
was  executed  at  the  same  time. 

At  the  close  of  1845,  Sarawak  was  at  peace  within  and 
without.  Trade  was  flourishing,  and  by  immigration  the 
population  had  increased  fourfold,  and  what  had  been  but 
a  few  years  before  a  most  miserably  oppressed  country  was 
now  the  happiest  and  most  prosperous  in  Borneo. 

The  Rajah  felt  more  secure,  but  he  still  wished  for  a 
man-of-war  to  guard  the  coast,  and,  above  all,  for  British 
protection,  and  a  flag  with  the  Union  cantoned  in  it. 


THE  PIRATES  117 

In  October,  Sherip  Mular,  with  Sherip  Ahmit,1  was  again 
amongst  the  Sekrang  Dayaks,  and  had  induced  them  to  go 
on  a  piratical  expedition  with  Sherips  Amal,  Long,  and  their 
father  Sherip  Abu  Bakar,  but  this  rising  the  Rajah  was 
easily  able  to  suppress  with  his  own  Malays  aided  by  the 
Balau  Dayaks.  The  marauders  were  met  and  defeated  by 
the  Balaus,  who  captured  their  eighteen  boats,  arms  and 
ammunition,  and  slew  the  Sekrang  Dayak  chief,  Apai 
Beragai,  but  the  three  sherips  unfortunately  escaped  into  the 
jungle,  and  fled  to  Saribas.  Timely  warning  of  Sherip 
Mular's  conduct  had  been  sent  the  Rajah  by  the  well- 
disposed  Malay  and  Dayak  chiefs  of  the  Sekrang,  of  whom 
there  were  now  many.  But  the  sherips  returned,  and  again 
gaining  confidence  and  ascendency  over  the  well  disposed,  in 
February,  1846,  the  Sekrang  Dayaks  once  more  burst  out, 
and  with  a  force  of  some  1200  men  laid  waste  the  coast, 
burning  villages,  killing  men,  and  carrying  women  and 
children  into  slavery.  They  had  fortified  themselves  up  the 
Sekrang,  and  felt  themselves  to  be  in  a  position  to  repel  the 
attack  of  any  force  that  might  be  sent  against  them. 

In  the  Sadong,  on  the  Rajah's  recommendation,  a  Malay 
chief  named  Abang  Kasim  had  been  appointed  governor  by 
the  Bruni  Government  in  succession  to  Sherip  Sahap,  with 
the  title  of  Datu  Bandar  ; 2  he  was  a  man  weak  in  character, 
but  with  brains  enough  to  be  mischievous  and  get  himself 
into  trouble  ;  and  the  Land-Dayaks  there  were  again  being 
so  oppressed  by  the  Malays  that  the  Rajah  found  it 
necessary  to  warn  the  latter  that  they  would  be  punished 
and  turned  out  of  the  river  if  they  did  not  desist. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  of  the  Kanowit  river,  a  large  affluent 
of  the  Rejang  running  towards  the  head  of  the  Sekrang,  by 
reason  of  their  raids  on  the  Melanaus  of  Muka,  Oya,  Matu, 
and  the  Rejang  delta,  now  came  under  the  Rajah's  notice. 
The  Datu  Patinggi  Abdul   Rahman,3  who  was  the  nominal 

1  The  son  of  Sherip  Japar.      S.  Japar  died  the  following  year. 

2  He  was  married  to  a  niece  of  Datu  Patinggi  Gapur. 

3  His  son  Haji  Usup  joined  the  Government  service  in  1862,  and  was  afterwards 
appointed  Datu  Bandar  in  the  Rejang.  He  died  April  1st,  1905,  after  having  served 
the  Government  faithfully  and  with  distinction  for  over  forty  years.  As  a  magistrate 
he  bore  a  high  reputation. 


n8  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Bruni  governor  of  this  large  river,  had  sent  letters  to  the 
Rajah  stating  his  desire  to  put  down  piracy  ;  these  were 
accepted  as  an  expression  of  good  faith,  though  he  was 
suspected  of  conniving  in  these  raids,  and  the  Rajah 
promised  him  assistance.  The  Kanowit  Dayaks  were  from 
the  Sekrang,  and  were  joined  in  their  expeditions  by  the 
Saribas  and  Sekrang  Dayaks,  who  marched  overland  to  join 
them,  so  as  to  obtain  a  safer  outlet  to  the  sea  than  was  now 
afforded  by  the  mouths  of  their  own  rivers.  They  had 
lately  destroyed  Palo,  in  the  delta,  killed  the  men,  and 
had  carried  the  women  and  children  into  captivity. 

After  the  death  of  Pangiran  Usup  it  might  have  been 
supposed  that  the  Sultan,  feeble  and  irresolute,  would  have 
fallen  under  the  influence  of  his  uncles,  Hasim  and  Bedrudin, 
and  would  have  been  led  to  favour  the  English  alliance,  but 
this  was  not  so.  He  was  angry  at  the  rout  of  the  pirates 
of  Marudu,  and  sore  at  being  constrained  to  sign  the  death 
warrant  of  Usup,  his  favourite  and  adviser  ;  as  also  at  the 
shrinkage  of  the  profits  derived  from  the  pirates,  though  at 
the  expense  of  the  lives  and  persons  of  his  own  subjects. 
He  bore  towards  Hasim  and  Bedrudin  that  dislike  which  a 
narrow  and  dull  mind  feels  towards  those  who  are  morally 
and  intellectually  his  superiors,  and  such  as  a  reigning  prince 
not  infrequently  entertains  towards  the  man  who  will  succeed 
him  on  his  throne.  Accordingly  he  surrounded  himself  with 
a  number  of  scoundrels,  led  by  one  Haji  Seman,  a  man  of 
low  birth,  the  successor  of  Pangiran  Usup  as  the  Sultan's 
chief  adviser,  who  fawned  on  and  flattered  him,  and  to 
whom  he  could  pour  forth  his  grievances  ;  and  these  men, 
many  of  them  pangirans  and  chiefs,  fanned  his  animosities, 
and  encouraged  him  in  his  evil  courses,  for  they  were  still 
favourable  to  the  piratical  party,  and  were  desirous  of 
avenging  the  death  of  Pangiran  Usup  and  the  destruction 
of  Marudu.  The  princes,  especially  Hasim,  who  had  recently 
been  publicly  declared  successor  to  the  throne  by  the 
Sultan,  with  the  title  of  Sultan  Muda,  and  Bedrudin,  were 
well  aware  that  they  were  regarded  with  disfavour,  and  that 
there  was  a  powerful  party  against  them  ;  they  knew  they 
were  in  danger,  though  they  did  not  suspect  that  the  danger 


THE   PIRATES  119 

was  so  imminent,  and  had  applied  for  protection  or  release 
from  their  engagements,  but,  to  quote  the  Rajah,  "  they  were 
not  protected,  they  were  not  released,  except  by  a  bloody 
death  in  their  endeavour  to  carry  them  out."  The  Sultan 
detested  them  as  favouring  the  English  Rajah,  and  inclined 
to  a  pro-British  policy,  and  he  resented  having  these  men 
so  near  the  throne,  and  that  the  succession  should  devolve 
on  Hasim  to  the  prejudice  of  his  own  reputed  son,  so  he 
resolved  to  sweep  them  from  his  path,  and  to  break  his 
engagements  with  and  to  defy  the  English.  As  a  further 
incentive  his  avariciousness  was  played  upon,  and  it  was 
pointed  out  to  him  how  much  he  would  gain  by  acquiring 
the  riches  of  his  uncles  were  he  to  put  them  to  death. 
Swayed  by  his  own  atrocious  motives,  this  wretched  imbecile, 
"  brutal  in  spite  of  his  imbecility,"  who  had  "  the  head  of  an 
idiot  and  the  heart  of  a  pirate,"  readily  yielded  to  the 
promptings  of  his  perfidious  counsellors,  and  issued  orders 
for  the  despatch  of  all  his  uncles.  So  secretly  were  pre- 
parations made  to  carry  out  the  execution  of  this  mandate 
that  the  doomed  princes  were  taken  completely  by  surprise 
by  the  well-armed  bands  that  silently  and  simultaneously 
surrounded  their  houses  in  the  darkness  of  the  night.  With 
most  of  the  brothers  resistance  was  impossible,  and  they 
were  soon  butchered,  but  Bedrudin  fought  heroically.  He 
could,  however,  do  little  against  the  large  body  of  murderers 
opposed  to  him,  with  only  a  few  followers  to  assist  him. 
These  latter  were  soon  cut  down  or  had  fled.  His  sister 
and  a  favourite  concubine  remained,  and  fought  by  his 
side,  as  well  as  a  faithful  slave,  a  lad  named  Japar. 
Desperately  wounded,  having  had  his  left  wrist  broken  by  a 
shot,  his  shoulder  and  chest  cut  open  so  as  to  disable  his 
right  arm,  and  his  head  and  face  slashed,  but  not  before  he 
had  cut  down  several  of  his  assassins,  Bedrudin,  with  the 
women  and  the  lad,  who  had  also  all  been  wounded,  retired 
into  the  house  and  barred  the  door.  He  bade  the  lad  bring 
him  a  keg  of  powder,  break  in  the  head,  and  strew  some  of 
the  contents  about  himself  and  his  female  companions  ;  then 
he  drew  off  his  signet  ring,  and  ordered  Japar  to  escape 
and  bear  it  to  his  friend  the   Rajah,  with  the  message  that 


120  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

he  should  tell  the  Queen  of  England  of  his  fate,  that  he 
had  been  true  to  his  engagements,  and  begging  his 
friend,  with  whom  his  last  thoughts  were,  never  to  forget 
him.  *  Japar  slipped  through  an  aperture  in  the  floor, 
dropped  into  the  water,  and  swam  to  a  canoe,  in  which  he 
escaped.  Then,  whilst  the  murderers,  awed  by  his  courage 
and  desperation,  were  hesitating  to  break  into  the  house,  the 
true-hearted  prince  applied  the  match  which  blew  himself 
and  his  two  noble  companions  into  eternity.1 

The  Sultan  Muda  Hasim,  though  wounded,  managed  to 
escape  from  his  burning  house  to  the  opposite  side  of  the 
river  with  several  of  his  brothers,  his  wife  and  children,  but 
he  was  pursued  and  surrounded  by  numbers.  Most  of  his 
brothers  had  been  killed,  and  others  wounded,  and  no  hope 
remained  to  him  but  to  throw  himself  on  the  mercy  of  his 
nephew,  the  Sultan.  He  sent  messages  to  him  to  beg  that 
his  life  might  be  spared,  but  this  was  peremptorily  refused. 
Death  being  inevitable,  he  retreated  to  a  boat  that  chanced 
to  be  moored  to  the  bank,  and  placing  a  cask  of  gunpowder 
in  the  cabin  called  upon  his  three  brothers  and  his  sons  who 
were  with  him  to  enter,  and  immediately  firing  the  train, 
the  whole  party  was  blown  up.  Hasim,  however,  was  not 
killed  by  the  explosion,  but,  determined  not  to  be  taken 
alive,  he  put  a  pistol  to  his  head  and  blew  out  his  brains. 

Of  the  many  uncles  of  the  Sultan  but  four  escaped,  and 
many  of  their  relations,  as  well  as  other  chiefs,  were  sacrificed. 
Hasim's  full  brother,  Muhammad,  was  desperately  wounded, 
and  so  cowed  as  to  have  his  spirit  broken.  He  was  spared 
as  being  harmless.  Another  brother  went  permanently  mad 
with  terror.  Thus  the  royal  family  had  been  nearly  exter- 
minated, and  the  omen  of  the  death  of  Rajah  Api  fulfilled. 

Japar  escaped  on  board  H.M.S.  Hazard,  which  had 
arrived  and  anchored  below  Bruni  some  three  months  after 
the  tragedy,  and  was  taken  in  her  to  Kuching.  He  was 
instrumental  in  saving  the  life  of  Commander  Egerton  by 
warning  him  not  to  land,  as  a  plot  had  been  formed  to  take 
his  life. 

1  The  ting  Bedrudin  sent  had  been  given  him  before  he  left  Sarawak  by  the  Rajah, 
who  told  Bedrudin  to  send  it  to  him  when  he  had  need  of  him  ;  it  was  seized  by  the 
Sultan  before  Japar  escaped  from  Bruni. 


THE  PIRATES  121 

When  news  of  this  crime,  which  took  place  at  the  end  of 
December  or  the  beginning  of  January,  1 846,  reached  the 
Rajah  he  was  deeply  moved.  Of  Bedrudin,  whose  loss  he 
considered  irreparable,  he  wrote  : — 

A  nobler,  a  braver,  a  more  upright  prince  could  not  exist.  I 
have  lost  a  friend — he  is  gone  and  I  remain  ;  I  trust,  but  in  vain, 
to  be  an  instrument  to  bring  punishment  on  the  perpetrators  of  the 
atrocious  deed.  .  .  .  My  suzerain  the  Sultan  ! — the  villain  Sultan  ! — 
need  expect  no  mercy  from  me,  but  justice  he  shall  have.  I  no 
longer  own  his  authority,  or  hold  Sarawak  under  his  gift  ...  he 
has  murdered  our  friends,  the  faithful  friends  of  Her  Majesty's 
Government,  because  they  were  our  frietids. 

The  Rajah  trusted  the  British  Government  would  take 
action  against  the  Sultan,  but  if  not,  remembering  he  "  was 
still  at  war  with  this  murderer  and  traitor,"  he  would  make 
"  one  more  determined  struggle "  to  punish  him  and  to 
rescue  the  survivors  of  the  Sultan  Muda's  family,  and  if  that 
failed,  then  Borneo x  and  all  for  which  he  had  so  long,  so 
earnestly  laboured,  he  considered  must  be  abandoned.  But 
help  was  drawing  near,  for  Rear-Admiral  Sir  Thomas 
Cochrane  on  hearing  of  these  troubles  hastened  from  India 
with  his  squadron  to  support  the  Rajah,2  and  to  bring  the 
Sultan  to  account.  The  fleet  arrived  off  Sarawak  at  the  end 
of  June,  and,  picking  up  the  Rajah,  the  Admiral  at  once  pro- 
ceeded to  Bruni,  visiting  Serikei  and  Kanowit  up  the  Rejang 
on  the  way,  to  administer  a  warning  to  the  people  there. 
The  Sultan,  frightened  at  what  he  had  done,  and  expecting 
reprisals,  which,  however,  he  was  determined  to  oppose  by 
force,  strengthened  the  existing  defences,  threw  up  new  ones, 
and  called  together  5000  men  for  the  defence  of  the 
capital.  He  proclaimed  that  he  was  determined  to  have 
no  more  dealings  with  the  English,  and  that  he  purposed  to 
drive  the  English  Rajah  from  Sarawak. 

On  the  arrival  of  the  fleet  at  the  mouth  of  the  Bruni 
river  the  Sultan  made  a  clumsy  attempt,  similar  to  that  he 
had  made  on  Commander  Egerton,  to  get  the  Admiral  into 

1  He  meant  Bruni,  which  he  had  hoped  to  have  restored  to  its  former  state  of 
prosperity. 

-  Reports  had  been  published  that  the  Rajah  was  closely  besieged  in  Kuching  by 
the  Sultan's  forces. 


122  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

his  power.  He  sent  two  men,  who  represented  themselves 
to  be  pangirans,  in  a  gaily  decked  prahu  to  welcome  the 
Admiral,  with  a  letter  to  the  Rajah,  expressing  hurt 
surprise  at  the  conduct  of  Commander  Egerton  in  not 
having  visited  him  and  in  having  refused  his  presents,  and 
begging  the  Rajah  to  put  no  faith  in  Japar's  tales.  The 
messengers  said  that  the  Sultan  would  not  permit  the 
Admiral  to  take  up  more  than  two  boats  with  him  ;  but 
these  men  were  detected  by  the  Rajah  to  be  men  of  no 
rank,  so  they  were  detained  on  board,  and  their  prahu  was 
secured  astern. 

On  the  8th,  having  transferred  his  flag  to  the  steam 
frigate  Spiteful,  the  Admiral  proceeded  up  to  Bruni  with  the 
PlilegctJion  leading  the  way,  and  the  Royalist  which  was 
towed  by  the  Spiteful.  The  gunboats  of  the  ships  left 
behind  also  attended,  and  the  total-  number  of  blue-jackets 
and  marines  was  600  ;  yet  the  Brunis,  trusting  to  their 
superiority  in  numbers,  and  to  the  really  efficient  steps  they 
had  taken  to  fortify  the  town  and  its  approaches,  felt  con- 
fident that  they  could  successfully  oppose  this  formidable 
force,  and  opened  fire  on  the  PJilegetJion  as  she  approached 
the  lower  batteries.  Fortunately  the  guns  were  aimed  too 
high  to  do  damage.  The  fire  was  at  once  returned, — guns, 
rockets,  and  muskets  responding  ;  the  blue-jackets  and 
marines  dashed  ashore,  and  the  enemy,  commanded  by 
Haji  Seman,  not  awaiting  their  onslaught,  fled  into  the 
jungle,  abandoning  the  guns.  The  squadron  then  advanced, 
silenced  battery  after  battery,  seven  or  eight  in  number, 
and  captured  the  cannon  in  them,  consisting  of  68,  42, 
and  32  pounders,  which,  had  they  been  well  laid  and 
served,  would  have  seriously  crippled  the  ships ;  and  the 
forts  were  so  strongly  constructed  and  so  well  placed,  that 
they  would  have  been  difficult  to  capture  had  they  been 
manned  by  a  less  despicable  foe.  As  it  was,  the  loss  in- 
curred on  both  sides  was  but  slight. 

The  Sultan,  his  army,  and  the  population  fled,  and  as 
night  fell,  Bruni  was  an  empty  shell.  A  week  was  spent  by 
Captain  Mundy  of  the  Iris,  with  whom  went  the  Rajah,  in  a 
fruitless  endeavour  to  capture  the  Sultan,  but  he  scampered 


THE   PIRATES  123 

away  beyond  reach,  and  the  force,  after  destroying  his  inland 
stronghold,  returned  to  the  ships. 

The  people  soon  began  to  return,  and  a  provisional 
government  was  formed  by  the  Rajah  with  Pangiran 
Mumin,  who  afterwards  became  Sultan,  and  Pangiran 
Muhammad  at  its  head,  and  a  message  was  despatched  to  the 
Sultan  with  assurances  of  safe-conduct,  if  he  would  return  to 
Brum",  govern  wisely  and  justly,  and  observe  his  engage- 
ments with  the  English  to  do  all  in  his  power  to  keep  the 
piratical  party  in  check.  Sir  Thomas  Cochrane  regretted 
that  he  had  not  the  authority,  as  he  had  the  power,  to  place 
the  Rajah  on  the  throne,  a  measure  which  he  was  convinced 
would  have  been  hailed  with  acclamation  by  the  whole 
people.  After  having  completely  destroyed  all  the  batteries,1 
the  Admiral  sailed  on  July  20  to  look  up  the  piratical 
villages  to  the  north-east  of  Bruni,  taking  the  Rajah,  and 
leaving  the  Hazard  as  a  guard-ship  at  Bruni.  Off  Tempasuk 
a  Lanun  prahu  was  captured,  having  two  Spanish  captives  on 
board,  who  had  been  taken  off  Manila  ;  the  crew  of  this 
prahu  were  sent  in  irons  to  Manila  to  be  dealt  with  by  the 
Spanish  authorities — we  may  presume  they  never  returned. 
Tempasuk  was  burnt  on  August  the  1st,  and  Pandasan  the 
next  day.  Both  the  Royalist  and  the  Ringdove  had  brushes 
with  pirate  vessels,  the  former  destroying  two  with  their 
crews,  and  the  latter  one,  but  with  the  loss  of  her  master 
and  a  marine. 

After  visiting  the  late  Sherip  Usman's  town  in  Merudu, 
which  it  was  found  had  not  been  occupied  since  its  destruc- 
tion just  a  year  previously,  the  Admiral  passed  on  to  China, 
leaving  Captain  Mundy,  whom  the  Rajah  now  joined  on  the 
Iris,  to  take  any  further  operations  against  the  pirates  that 
might  be  found  necessary.  One  pirate  prahu  was  met  with 
and  destroyed,  also  another  small  Lanun  stronghold  near 
Pandasan.  At  Kimanis  information  was  received  that  Haji 
Seman,  after  he  had  fled  from  Bruni,  had  fortified  himself 
at  Membakut,  near  the  Kimanis  river  ;   he  was  attacked  and 

1  The  foregoing  details  are  mainly  taken  from  Mundy's  Rajah  Brooke  s  Journals. 
The  captured  cannon  were  sent  to  England.  St.  John  says  some  were  melted  up  to 
construct  cannon  for  the  Crimea. — Forests  in  the  Far  East.  Brunis  were  famous 
brassfounders,  and  many  of  these  guns  must  have  been  veryr  old. 


i24  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

driven  into  the  interior.  The  Lanuns  shortly  afterwards 
abandoned  the  north-west  coast,  and  established  themselves 
at  Tungku  on  the  east  coast,  where  they  were  long  left 
unmolested. 

On  the  return  of  the  Rajah  to  Bruni  in  the  PJdegethon 
on  August  19,  he  found  the  Sultan  still  absent,  so  sent  him 
a  message  that  if  he  returned  he  would  be  answerable  for  his 
safety,  and  in  reply  the  Sultan  sent  a  humble  letter  laying 
his  throne  and  kingdom  at  the  Rajah's  feet.  He  at  once 
returned  and  sued  for  pardon.  The  Rajah  would  not  see 
him  until  the  murderers  of  his  uncles  had  been  brought  to 
justice,  and  until  he  had  given  convincing  proof  of  his 
intention  to  govern  his  country  uprightly,  with  the  assistance 
of  advisers  worthy  of  trust ;  pardon  he  must  ask  of  the 
Queen,  upon  whose  flag  he  had  fired,  and  the  agreements 
he  had  previously  made  must  be  reratified.  All  this  the 
Sultan  engaged  to  do.  In  addition,  he  paid  royal  honours  at 
the  graves  of  his  murdered  relatives  ;  and,  taking  the  most 
humble  tone  and  position,  gave  Sarawak  to  the  Rajah  un- 
conditionally, and  granted  him  the  right  of  working  coal.1 
But  even  then  the  Rajah  refused  to  see  him. 

To  conclude  the  story  of  Sultan  Omar  Ali,  he  gave 
little  more  trouble  after  the  severe  lesson  he  had  been 
taught,  became  afflicted  with  cancer  in  the  mouth,  and  died 
in  1852,  when  Pangiran  Mumin  succeeded  to  the  throne. 
He  was  a  brother-in-law  to  the  murdered  princes,  but  only 
remotely  connected  with  the  royal  family,  being  descended 
from  Muhammad  Ali  the  twelfth  Sultan  of  Bruni,  in  or 
about  1660,  brother  of  the  Sultan  Abdul  Jalil  ul  Akbar, 
the  ancestor  of  Omar  Ali,  who  was  seventh  in  descent  from 
him.  The  feeble-minded  Abdul  Mumin  died  at  a  great 
age  in  1885,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  Hasim  Jalil  ul 
Alam  Akmadin,  the  reputed  son  of  Omar  Ali  ;  he  died  in 
1906,  over  100  years  of  age,  and  was  succeeded  by  his 
son,  the  present  Sultan,  Muhammad  Jamal  ul  Alam. 

The  Rajah  returned  to  Kuching  at  the  end  of  August 
in  the  Phlegethon,  with  "  a  perfect  menagerie  of  old  women 
and  children,"  the   unhappy  survivors  of  the   Sultan  Muda's 

1    Private  Letters  of  the  Rajah. 


THE   PIRATES  125 

family.1      Many  other   families   had   already  fled  from   Bruni 
to  seek  a  refuge  in  the  universal  haven,  Sarawak. 

By  the  deed  which  the  Rajah  now  bore  back  with  him, 
the  one  under  which  Sarawak  Proper  is  still  held,  the 
sovereignty  of  James  Brooke  and  his  heirs  in  perpetuity 
over  the  raj  was  acknowledged  absolutely,  and  by  it  the 
Sultan  surrendered  his  claim  to  suzerainty.  No  yearly 
payment  was  to  be  made  for  the  province,2  and  it  was  left 
to  the  Rajah  to  dispose  of  as  he  pleased  ;  hence  he  was 
at  liberty  to  hand  it  over  to  a  foreign  government  if  he 
so  wished.3  Sarawak  now  became  de  jtire  independent  ;  de 
facto,  it  had  been  independent  for  some  years  ;  and  the 
Rajah  "  held  a  double  claim  to  its  possession — the  will  of 
a  free  people  strengthened  by  the  cession  made  by  a 
sovereign,  who  was  unable  to  rule  his  subjects." 4  Such 
being  the  position  of  the  Sultan,  the  Rajah  maintained 
the  title  de  jure  to  be  of  small  value,  whilst  the  title  derived 
from  the  election  and  support  of  a  free  people  he  considered 
of  superior  importance.  The  power  of  Bruni  had  become 
but  a  shadow,  not  only  in  Sarawak  but  along  the  coast  as 
far  as  Oya,  and  the  prerogative  of  the  Sultan  to  grant 
their  country  to  any  one  was  disavowed  by  the  people  of 
Sarawak.  Their  ancestors  had  been  free,  and  they  had  but 
a  few  years  previously  voluntarily  placed  themselves  under 
the  Bruni  Government,  upon  certain  conditions,  but  in  the 
decay  of  the  Government  of  Bruni  these  had  been  dis- 
regarded, and  misrule  succeeded.  They  rebelled  and 
successfully  maintained  an  independent  position  ;  they  had 
offered  their  country  to  Holland  ;  and  had  finally  surren- 
dered to  Mr.  Brooke,  conditionally  upon  his  becoming  their 
ruler.  All  possession  of  territory  in  Borneo  was  a  question 
of  might,  and  the  Sultan  himself  looked  to  the  Rajah 
"  to  support  his  throne,  and   to  preserve  his  government."  5 

1  His  son,  the  Pangiran  Muda,  is  still  alive  in  Bruni. 

a  The  tribute  was  cancelled  by  the  release  of  a  debt  due  to  the  Rajah  hy  the  Sultan, 
the  interest  upon  which  was  equivalent  to  the  yearly  tribute. 

3  Though  this  deed  bore  the  seal  of  Pangiran  Abdul  Mumin,  he  confirmed  it  by 
another  granted  in  1853,  after  he  had  become  Sultan.  Only  copies,  attested  by 
H.M. 's  Consul-General,  exist  now,  the  originals,  together  with  the  two  previous 
grants,  having  been  burnt  during  the  Chinese  rebellion  of  1857. 

4  Letter  to  the  Earl  of  Clarendon,  September  27,  1853. 

5  Captain  Mundy  said  truly  of  the  Rajah  that  he  was  the  de  facto  sovereign  of  the 


126  A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

Though  the  question  of  the  independence  of  Sarawak  x  has 
been  placed  beyond  doubt  by  its  recognition  by  the  British 
Government  in  1863  as  an  absolutely  independent  State, 
yet  it  has  been  maintained,  and  by  some  who  should  know 
better,  that  the  country  is  still  under  the  suzerainty  of  Bruni. 

To  conclude  the  eventful  year  of  1846,  Captain  Mundy 
returned  to  Sarawak  in  December  with  instructions  from  the 
Secretary  for  Foreign  Affairs,  Lord  Palmerston,  conveyed 
through  Sir  Thomas  Cochrane,  to  occupy  the  Island  of 
Labuan,  after  consulting  with  the  Rajah  as  to  the  best 
mode  of  carrying  out  his  instructions."  He  at  once  pro- 
ceeded to  Bruni,  the  Rajah  going  to  Singapore.  Labuan 
was  ceded  on  the  1 8th,  and  the  British  flag  was  hoisted  on 
the  island  on  December  24. 

The  Dutch  Government  had  viewed  the  Rajah's  elevation 
and  settlement  at  Sarawak,  as  well  as  the  past  and  recent  opera- 
tions of  the  British  on  the  north-west  coast,  with  unfeigned 
jealousy,  and  had,  during  the  last  two  years,  repeatedly 
remonstrated  with  the  British  Government  for  countenancing 
these  proceedings,  which  the  Dutch  Minister,  by  a  stretch 
of  imagination,  exaggerated  into  having  been  the  cause  of 
a  general  uneasiness  arising  in  Holland  "as  to  the  security 
and  integrity  of  the  Netherlands  possessions  in  the  Eastern 
Archipelago,"  and  a  suspicion  of  "  the  Government  having 
surrendered,  or  very  nearly  so,  the  Eastern  Archipelago  to 
England."  Further,  "the  King's  Government,"  extravagantly 
wrote  the  Minister,  "  cannot  forget  how  much  it  has  had  to 
suffer  at  different  epochs  in  India  from  the  practices  of  this 
individual  (the  Rajah),  whom  the  Netherlands  authorities 
have  everywhere  found  in  their  way,  and  constantly  in 
opposition  to  them."  In  his  position  as  H.M.'s  Political 
Agent,  "  combined  with  his  long  experience  and  intimate 
knowledge  of  Borneo,"  with  "  his  desire  to  annoy,  and  his 
ill-will  towards  the  Netherlands,"  the  Minister  considered 
him  a  very  inconvenient  and  harassing  personage  to  the 
Netherlander    and    their    Government.       The    Netherlands 

whole  coast  of  Borneo  from  point  Api  (he  should  have  said  Cape  Datu)  to  Marudu, 
700  miles  in  extent. 

1  The  territory  of  Sarawak  then  extended  to  Cape  Kedurong. 

2  Mundy,  op.  cit. 


THE   PIRATES  127 

Government  alleged  that  the  Rajah's  action  in  Sarawak 
and  the  occupation  of  Labuan  were  an  abandonment  of 
the  spirit  of  the  Treaty  of  1824,  if  not  of  the  letter.  But 
by  that  Treaty  the  Dutch  sphere  of  influence  in  Borneo  had 
been  limited  to  the  equator,  north  of  the  line  remaining  within 
the  sphere  of  British  influence.  As  the  Minister  foresaw, 
Lord  Aberdeen,  on  these  grounds,  denied  that  the  recent 
measures  taken  in  Borneo  were  in  any  way  a  contravention 
of  the  treaty  or  inimical  to  Dutch  interests.  Lord  Aberdeen, 
in  supporting  the  Rajah,  eulogised  him  as  a  gentleman  of 
high  character,  whose  "  efforts  have  been  directed  to  the 
furtherance  of  civilization,  to  the  discouragement  of  piratical 
pursuits,  and  to  the  promotion  of  the  welfare  of  the  native 
population,"  and  contended  that  he  had  obtained  his 
possessions  "  in  the  most  legitimate  manner."  He  further 
implied  that  the  Rajah's  legitimate  objects  and  pursuits 
having  met  with  undue  interference  by  the  Netherlands 
authorities,  occasion  had  perhaps  been  given  for  disputes 
arising  between  him  and  the  Netherlands  Government,  for 
he  was  naturally  "  not  favorably  disposed  to  the  extension 
of  Dutch  influence  in  the  parts  where  he  had  acquired 
possessions  "  ; l  an  influence  which  the  Governor-General  of 
Netherlands  India  in  his  rescript  of  January  1846,  men- 
tioned in  footnote,  p.  93,  said  his  Government  did  not 
exercise  in  the  State  of  the  Sultan  of  Bruni,  which  extended 
from  cape  Datu  to  the  Kimanis  river. 
The  Rajah  wrote  : — 

The  Netherlands  Government  has  made  an  attack  upon  me,  but 
it  has  failed.  I  am  astonished  at  the  misrepresentations  to  which  it 
stoops.  ...  I  never  had  any  dispute  with  the  Dutch  authorities ; 
and  the  only  communications  which  have  passed  between  the 
Resident  of  Sambas  and  myself  have  been  of  a  most  friendly  kind.2 

But  though  she  failed,  it  was  some  years  before  Holland 
gave  up  her  pretensions  to  Sarawak,  pretensions  which 
twice  before  they  could  have  realised — in  1833,  when 
Pangiran  Usup  offered  her  the  country,  and,  a  few  years 
later,  when  the  Sarawak  people  asked  for  her  protection  ; 
but  the  one   involved   a  monetary  equivalent,  and  the  other 

1   From  Blue  Book,  March  2,  1854.  -  Private  Letters. 


128  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

military  support,  and  she  thought  to  acquire  the  country  by 
cheaper  methods,  which  the  Rajah  knew  she  still  meant  to 
do  after  his  death  if  she  could.  Without  his  influence,  and 
without  his  influential  friends,  he  did  not  think  that  Sarawak 
could  subsist  after  he  was  gone,  and  this  it  was  that  made 
him  so  urgent  to  be  put  under  British  protection.  When, 
finally,  the  British  Government  did  recognise  Sarawak  as 
an  independent  State,  the  Netherlands  Minister  was  asked 
if  he  were  aware  of  the  recognition.  The  reply  was, 
"  Holland  will  not  recognise  Sarawak,  as  the  Government 
is  convinced  that  Sarawak  cannot  last  beyond  the  lifetime 
of  Sir  James  Brooke."  He  added,  "  I  told  you  this  seven 
years  ago,  and  I  see  no  reason,  from  recent  events,  to  alter 
my  opinion."1      This  was  in  1863. 

The  early  part  of  1  847  was  spent  by  the  Rajah  recruit- 
ing his  health  on  Penang  hill,  where  a  letter  was  received 
from  the  Sultan  notifying  that  Haji  Seman  had  given  him- 
self up  at  Brum',  and  asking  for  instructions  of  the  Admiral 
and  the  Rajah  as  to  his  disposal.  It  was  not  considered 
that  his  execution  was  now  necessary  as  an  example,  and 
the  Sultan  was  informed  that  the  past  could  be  buried  in 
oblivion,  but  that  misconduct  in  the  future  would  revive  its 
recollection. - 

In  Singapore  the  Rajah  received  instructions  from  the 
Foreign  Office  to  proceed  to  Bruni  to  conclude  a  treaty 
with  the  Sultan  for  the  arrangement  of  commercial  relations, 
and  for  the  mutual  suppression  of  piracy  ;  to  reserve  to 
H.M.'s  Government  power  and  jurisdiction  over  all  British 
subjects  residing  within  the  Sultanate,  and  to  bind  the 
Sultan  not  to  alienate  any  portion  of  his  dominions  to  any 
foreign  power  or  to  others  without  the  sanction  of  her 
Majesty's  Government.  The  Rajah  proceeded  to  Bruni  in 
the  Nemesis >  touching  at  Kuching  on  his  way,  and  the 
treaty  was  signed  on  May  27.  On  the  30th,  when  leaving 
the  Bruni  river,  the  Nemesis  was  hailed  by  a  passing  canoe, 
and  received  the  information  that  a  fleet  of  pirates  was  in 
the  offing.      The    steamer    immediately  started    in    pursuit, 

1   Letter  from  the  Rajah  to  the  Tuan  Muda,  1864. 
-   From  Mundv,  op.  cit. 


THE   PIRATES  129 

and  the  pirates,  finding  escape  impossible,  came  to  anchor 
in  a  small  bay  with  their  bows  seaward,  and  secured  their 
prahus,  eleven  in  all,  together  with  hawsers.  The  engage- 
ment which  followed,  and  which  lasted  several  hours,  the 
pirates  fighting  desperately,  resulted  in  five  of  the  pirate 
prahus  being  destroyed,  and  six  effecting  their  escape.1 
The  Nemesis  lost  two  killed  and  six  wounded,  and  the 
pirates  about  sixty  killed.  Fifty  more,  who  had  escaped 
inland,  were  captured  by  the  Sultan's  men,  and  executed 
in  Bruni.  About  100  captives,  mostly  Chinese  and  Malays, 
were  rescued  and  sent  to  Singapore.  The  pirates,  who 
were  Baleninis,  were  on  their  return  from  a  year's  cruise 
laden  with  plunder  and  captives.  They  had  proposed  to 
attack  Kuching,  but  had  thought  better  of  it.2 

The  desire  to  visit  England  was  now  strong  upon  the 
Rajah.  Besides  personal  reasons,  the  wish  to  see  his 
relations  and  friends,  and  to  obtain  change  and  rest,  he 
also  felt  that  he  could  effect  more  than  by  correspondence 
were  he  personally  to  interest  Ministers  in  Bornean  affairs 
and  urge  on  them  the  necessity  of  a  decided  course  for 
the  suppression  of  piracy,  which  could  be  put  down  were  a 
steady  course  pursued  instead  of  mere  convulsive  efforts, 
and  Sulu  he  wished  to  see  crushed.^  Sarawak,  where  all 
was  peaceful,  would  be  safe  under  the  administration  of 
his  connection,  Mr.  A.  C.  Crookshank.4  Labuan  was 
established  as  a  naval  station  under  naval  administration. 
Bruni  had  been  reduced  to  subjection,  and  was  powerless 
to  give  further  trouble,  and  the  coast  was  generally  quiet  ; 
so,  there  being  nothing  requiring  attention  in  the  immediate 
future,  he  sailed  from  Singapore  in  July,  and  arrived  in 
England  early  in  October. 

And  now  honours  rained  on  him.      He  was   presented 

1  Of  these,  three  foundered  from  injuries  received  during  the  engagement,  so 
that  few  returned  home  to  tell  the  tale.  It  took  the  Balenini  about  fifteen  years  to 
forget  the  lesson. — Sir  fames  Brooke,  St.  John. 

-  Mundy,  op.  cit. 

3  Private  Letters. 

4  He  joined  the  Rajah  in  March,  1843,  having  previously  served  in  the  H.E.I. 
Co.  's  Navy,  and  became  Police  Magistrate  and  Government  Secretary.  In  1863 
he  was  appointed  Resident  of  Sarawak.  He  frequently  administered  the  Government 
during  the  absences  of  the  late  and  the  present  Rajah.  He  retired  in  1873,  and 
died  in  1891. 

K 


ISO  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

with  the  freedom  of  the  City  of  London  ;  Oxford  University 
conferred  upon  him  the  degree  of  LL.D.  ;  he  was  graciously 
received  at  Windsor  by  the  Oueen  and  the  Prince  Consort ; 
was  appointed  Governor  of  Labuan,  and  Commissioner 
and  Consul-General  in  Borneo,  and  made  a  K.C.B.1  The 
United  Service,  the  Army  and  Navy,  the  Athenaeum, 
Travellers,  and  other  Clubs  elected  him  an  honorary 
member.  He  was  lionised  and  feted,  and  was  received 
with  marked  distinction  by  every  one,  including  Ministers. 

He  sailed  from  England  on  February  I,  1848,  with 
his  Labuan  staff,  in  the  M (zander y  commanded  by  his  old 
friend  and  ally,  Captain  Keppel,  and  having  the  present 
Rajah  on  board  as  sub-lieutenant."  After  spending  a  few 
months  in  Singapore  making  preparations  for  the  establish- 
ment of  his  new  colony,  he  arrived  at  the  Muaratebas 
entrance  of  the  Sarawak  river  in  September  ;  here  he  left 
the  Mceander^  and  was  triumphantly  escorted  up-river  by 
the  whole  Kuching  population  amidst  general  rejoicings. 

He  found  affairs  in  his  little  raj  had  not  been  conducted 
quite  so  well  as  he  could  have  wished,  and  that  there  were 
evidences  of  renewed  activity  on  the  part  of  the  pirates. 
Pangiran  Makota  was  in  power  at  Brum*,  and  that  was  a 
menace  to  the  good  conduct  of  both  the  external  and 
internal  affairs  of  the  Sultanate.  The  Sultan  had  been 
in  direct  communication  with  the  Sekrang  Dayaks,  amongst 
whom  both  Sherip  Mular  and  Sherip  Ahmit  were  busy 
intriguing,  and  collecting  the  dissatisfied  party  which  had 
been  scattered.  Hostile  operations  on  the  part  of  the 
Saribas  were  only  checked  by  the  arrival  of  the  Mceatukr. 

On  September  14,  the  Rajah  was  joined  by  his  nephew. 
Captain  James  Brooke-Johnson,3  of  the  Connaught  Rangers, 
as    his    official    A.D.C.      He   assumed    the   surname    of  his 

1   The  warrant  of  investiture  was  issued  by  her  Majesty  oil  May  22,  1848. 

■  Amongst  others  who  came  out  with  the  Rajah  in  the  Mceander  were  Mr. 
Spenser  St.  John,  afterwards  Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  G.C.M.G.,  the  Rajah's  Secretary  ; 
and  Mr.  Hu^h  Low,  afterwards  Sir  Hugh  Low,  G.C.M.G.,  Colonial  Secretary  at 
Labuan.  Mr.  St.  John  was  Consul-General  at  Bruni  from  1853-1861  ;  he  left 
year  upon  promotion.  Mr.  Low  had  before  spent  some  three 
in  Sarawak  botanising.  He  left  Labuan  in  1877,  when  h<-  was  appointed 
Resident  of  Perak. 

*  The  eldest  son  of  the  Rev.  Francis  Charles  Johnson,  Vicar  of  White  Lackington, 
Somersetshire,  by  Emma,  the  Rajah's  second  sister. 


THE   PIRATES  131 

uncle,  and  was  given  the  title  of  Tuan  Besar.  Although 
he  was  always  looked  upon  as  the  heir-presumptive,  the 
title  of  Rajah  Muda  was  only  conferred  upon  him  when 
he  was  officially  and  publicly  recognised  by  the  Rajah  as 
his  heir  in   1  861. 

"  To  give  a  spirit  of  national  pride  to  the  natives,"  the 
Rajah  now  granted  the  country  a  flag,1  and  this  was  hoisted 
with  due  ceremony  on  September  21.  Viscount  Palmerston, 
in  a  despatch  dated  June  20,  1849,  subsequently  conveyed 
the  approval  of  H.M.'s  Government  of  the  flag  having  been 
hoisted,  in  order,  with  the  sanction  of  the  British  Govern- 
ment, to  afford  a  recognised  permanency  to  the  country. 

The  Rajah  then  sailed  in  the  Mceander  to  Labuan, 
where  he  was  busy  for  some  time  arranging  and  organising 
the  colony,  but,  falling  a  victim,  with  many  others,  to  the 
insalubrity  of  the  climate,  he  took  a  sea  voyage  in  the 
Mceander,  visiting  several  places  on  the  north-west  coast 
and  passing  on  to  Sulu,  where  he  established  friendly 
relations  with  the  Sultan,  and  paved  the  way  to  a  treaty 
being  effected,  by  which  Sulu  would  be  placed  within  the 
sphere  of  British  influence.  He  returned  to  Labuan  in 
January,  1 849,  nearly  recovered,  and  the  next  month  was 
back  in  Sarawak  again,  to  face  an  anxious  time,  a  year  of 
trouble  and  strife. 

The  Rajah  had  done  all  he  could  in  England  to  move 
the  British  Government  to  take  energetic  action  effectually 
to  stamp  out  piracy,  especially  in  regard  to  the  Saribas 
and  Sekrang,  amongst  whom  the  peaceable  party  had  now 
been  completely  overborne  by  the  piratical  faction,  and  this 
would  have  been  prevented  had  the  British  Government 
sanctioned  the  Rajah's  scheme  of  building  a  fort  in  the 
disturbed  district.  Alone,  he  was  powerless  to  effect  much, 
if  anything.  The  Mceander  had  been  specially  fitted  for 
taking  action  against  these  pirates,  and  her  captain  specially 
appointed  on  account  of  the  experience  he  had  already 
gained  in  dealing  with  them,  as  it  was  intended  that  the 
frigate  should  be  detailed  for  this  service  ;  but  trouble  having 

1  Yellow  ground,  with  black  and  red  cross,  as  shown  in  illustration — the  arms 
of  the  Brookes.  The  Government  flag  is  distinguished  by  a  crown  in  the  centre  ; 
the  Rajah's  flag  is  a  burgee,  or  swallow-tailed  flag. 


132  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

occurred  in  China,  she  was  recalled  by  the  Admiral,  and  the 
Rajah  was  left  with  the  H.E.I.C.  Nemesis  only,  a  steamer 
quite  inadequate  for  the  purpose  ;  and,  being  required  to 
keep  up  communication  between  Labuan  and  Singapore, 
her  station  being  at  the  latter  place,  she  could  be  only 
occasionally  placed  at  his  disposal. 

The  departure  of  the  Mceander,  and  the  Rajah's  long 
absence  in  the  north,  had  emboldened  the  Saribas  and 
Sekrangs  to  prepare  for  fresh  atrocities.  Their  insolence 
had,  moreover,  so  increased  that  they  went  so  far  as  to  send 
the  Rajah  a  message  of  defiance,  daring  him  to  come  out 
against  them,  taunting  him  with  cowardice,  and  comparing 
him  to  a  woman.1 

On  March  2nd,  the  Rajah  received  news  that  a  large 
pirate  fleet  of  one  hundred  prahus  had  put  to  sea,  and, 
after  having  captured  several  trading  vessels,  the  crews  of 
which  they  had  put  to  death,  had  proceeded  up  the  Sadong 
river,  where  they  had  killed  upwards  of  one  hundred  or 
more  Malay  men,  women,  and  children,  and  had  carried 
others  into  slavery.  Within  the  three  previous  months 
they  had  killed  three  hundred  persons,  burnt  several  villages, 
and  captured  numerous  prahus.'2  This  expedition  was  led 
by  the  Laksamana,  the  Malay  chief  of  the  Saribas  ; 3  it  was 
checked  at  the  town  of  Gedong,  which  was  well  prepared 
for  defence,  and  too  much  on  the  alert  to  be  taken  by 
surprise. 

An  artifice  of  these  pirates,  and  they  never  attempted 
by  force  what  could  be  acquired  by  stratagem,  was  this  : 
some  of  the  party  remained  behind  and  assumed  the  clothes 
of  their  victims,  and  the  umbrella-shaped  hats  of  palm 
leaf  commonly  used  by  those  harvesting  in  the  sun,  which 
would  completely  conceal  their  features  ;  thus  disguised  thcy 
paddled  down  stream,  and  called  in  Malay  to  the  women  to 
issue  from  their  hiding-places,  as  they  had  come  to  convey 
them  to  a  place   of  safety.      The   poor  creatures,   supposing 

1   Keppel,   Voyage  to  the  Indian  Archipelago.  -  Private  Letters. 

'■'•  (it  ins  fifteen  sons,  Abangs  Apong,  Chek,  Tek,  and  Bunsu  all  served  the 
Government  afterwards  ;  they  were  distinguished  more  for  bravery  than  for  rectitude, 
but  they  were  faithful  and  useful  servants.  Another  son  was  killed  during  the 
operations  up  the  Saribas  subsequent  to  the  action  of  Beting  Main.  The  Laksa- 
mana lived  for  years  after  thesr  events,  and  was  about  ninety  when  he  died. 


THE   PIRATES  133 

that  these  were  of  their  own  tribe,  ran  down  with  their 
children  in  their  arms  only  to  be  speared  and  their  heads 
hacked  off  by  these  wolves  in  sheep's  clothing.1  On  the  last 
day  of  February,  a  numerous  and  industrious  population 
was  gathering  in  the  harvest,  and  on  March  the  1st  every 
house  was  plundered,  and  scattered  about  the  fields  were  the 
mangled  bodies  of  the  reapers,  and  in  the  villages  lay  the 
headless  trunks  of  men,  aged  women,  and  children  too  young 
for  captivity. 

Not  a  day  passed  without  news  reaching  Kuching  of 
some  village  burned  or  of  some  trading  vessel  captured. 
After  the  attack  on  Sadong,  while  the  Saribas  hovered  along 
the  coast,  crowds  of  refugees  arrived  in  Kuching.  From  all 
parts  they  came  ;  from  the  river  of  Matu  alone  twenty 
prahus  full  of  men,  women,  and  children,  and  from  Kalaka 
many  hundreds.  They  said  that  they  could  endure  life 
no  longer  in  their  own  country,  continually  engaged  in 
resisting  these  murderous  attacks,  and  losing  numbers  of 
their  people  at  the  hands  of  the  Sekrangs  and  Saribas. 

"  No  news  except  of  Dayaks,  and  rumours  of  Dayaks. 
Dayaks  here,  Dayaks  there,  and  Dayaks  everywhere,"  so 
wrote  the  Rajah. 

The  Kalaka  river  had  also  been  laid  waste.  Hunt  in 
1 8 1 2  described  Kalaka  as  being  one  of  the  principal  ports 
of  trade  on  the  north-west  coast,"  and  the  country  as  pro- 
ducing large  quantities  of  grain.  But  this  was  before  the 
Sea-Dayaks  had  become  pirates.  In  1849,  the  river  had 
been  so  devastated  by  piratical  attacks  that  all  cultivation 
had  been  abandoned,  and  its  once  flourishing  town  and 
villages  deserted,  with  the  exception  of  two  that  were  small. 
"  Never  before  had  I  been  so  struck  with  the  irreparable 
mischief  done  by  the  piratical  tribes,  as  when  I  saw  this 
lovely  country  so  completely  deserted,"  so  wrote  Mr.  S. 
St.  John  in   1  849. 

The  ravages  of  these  murderous  Dayaks  had  been 
peculiarly  destructive  in  the  delta  of  the  Rejang,  once  well 
populated   by  the   quiet   and  industrious  Melanaus,  the  pro- 

1  Keppel,  op.  cit. 

2  The  plains  on  both   banks  of  the  river  evidence   a  former  cultivation  on  an 
extensive  scale. 


134  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

ducers  of  the  Bornean  sago  brought  to  the  market  of 
Singapore.  The  pirates  not  only  destroyed  the  villages 
and  plantations,  but  captured  many  richly  laden  prahus, 
freighted  with  the  produce  of  this  district  on  their  way 
to  dispose  of  their  lading  in  the  British  Settlement  of 
Singapore,  and  in  Sambas  and  Pontianak.  Like  the  Malays 
of  Kalaka,  nearly  all  the  inhabitants  had  fled,  most  to 
Sarawak,  some  to  other  places. 

During  the  first  six  months  of  1849,  some  600  persons 
fell  victims  to  these  savages  ;  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that 
the  districts  inhabited  by  these  people  and  those  attacked 
by  them  were  then  in  Bruni  territory,  and  outside  the  raj 
of  Sarawak. 

In  1849,  ^  was  reckoned  that  the  Saribas  had  6000 
fighting  men,  the  Sekrangs  an  equal  number,  and  those 
Sekrangs  and  Saribas  who  had  moved  across  to  the  Kanowit, 
Katibas,  and  Poi,  affluents  of  the  Rejang  river,  could  muster 
8000  warriors,1  making,  with  their  Malay  allies,  a  total  of 
25,000  men  living  on  piracy  and  murder.  Secure  on  their 
rivers,  in  their  stockades,  in  their  jungles,  in  their  large  and 
well-constructed  boats,  and  in  their  numbers,  they  scoffed  at 
warnings,  and  proceeded  from  crime  to  crime  until  the 
whole  country  from  Bruni  to  Sarawak  was  nearly  their  own. 

In  desperation,  and  with  the  hope  of  checking  these 
outrages,  the  Rajah  at  once  started  against  the  pirates 
with  his  own  little  flotilla  of  some  twenty-four  war  prahus 
manned  by  800  Malays,  but  he  was  driven  back  by  the 
north-east  monsoon,  perhaps  fortunately,  as  his  force  was 
totally  inadequate.  Then  the  Nemesis,  under  Commander 
Wallage,  arrived,  and  the  Rajah,  feeling  he  was  now  strong 
enough  to  effect  something,  sallied  forth  again  on  March  25, 
with  the  same  native  force  and  four  of  the  boats  of  the 
Nemesis.  The  bala '"'  was  augmented  by  eighty-four  native 
prahus  with  over  2000  friendlies,  all  thirsting  for  revenge. 
Both  branches  of  the  Kalaka  were  ascended,  and  from 
the  left-hand  branch  the  native  levies  crossed  over  into  the 
Rembas,   a   large   affluent   of  the   Saribas,   and   here   several 

1  St.  John,  Life  of  Sir  James  Br\ 
-  An  army  in  Malay  and  Da yak. 


THE   PIRATES  135 

strongholds  were  destroyed,  with  large  quantities  of  rice  and 
salt  ;  the  enemy  were,  however,  absent  on  an  expedition,  and 
but  few  fighting  men  were  left  behind.  The  Rajah  then 
proceeded  up  the  Saribas,  the  entrance  of  which  the  Nemesis 
had  been  sent  on  to  guard,  and  at  the  mouth  of  the  Rembas 
branch  met  a  large  force  of  Saribas  Dayaks  which  hurriedly 
retreated.  These  were  on  their  way  to  effect  a  junction 
with  the  Sekrangs,  the  Malay  town  of  Banting  up  the 
Lingga  being  the  objective.  Ten  prahus  of  Sadong 
friendlies  on  their  way  home  were  met  and  attacked  at 
night  by  these  Sekrangs,  who  had  a  force  of  1  50  bangkongs, 
but,  the  Balau  Dayaks  opportunely  coming  to  the  assistance 
of  the  former,  the  Sekrangs  were  defeated  and  driven  back 
to  their  own  country.  This  well-contrived  expedition  then 
terminated  in  a  return  to  Sarawak,  and  though  the  pirates 
had  not  suffered  any  great  loss,  especially  in  lives,  a  severe 
check  had  been  administered,  and  by  preventing  a  junction 
between  the  Saribas  and  Sekrangs  their  piratical  venture  for 
that  occasion  had  been  spoiled. 

After  his  return  from  this  expedition  the  Rajah  took 
advantage  of  the  lull  that  was  certain  to  follow,  for  the 
Dayaks  would  lie  low  for  a  time  fully  expecting  to  be  again 
attacked,  and  proceeded  to  visit  his  little  colony  at  Labuan. 
From  thence  he  passed  on  to  Sulu,  where  he  concluded  a 
commercial  treaty  with  the  Sultan,  returning  to  Kuching  at 
the  end  of  May.  In  the  meantime  Admiral  Sir  Francis 
Collier  had  despatched  the  Albatross,  Commander  Farquhar,1 
to  Sarawak,  to  take  the  Mceander 's  place,  and  she  had 
arrived  at  Kuching  before  the  Rajah's  return  in  the  Nemesis, 
and  had  there  been  joined  by  the  Royalist,  Lieutenant 
Everest.  Preparations  were  pushed  forward  to  deliver  a 
final  blow  to  the  Saribas  and  Sekrang  pirates,  who,  now  the 
Ramathan,  or  fast  month,  had  commenced,  considered  them- 
selves safe,  under  the  firm  persuasion  that  the  Rajah  would 
not  move  against  them  so  long  as  it  lasted,  out  of  regard 
for  the  religious  scruples  of  the  Malays. 

The   expedition   started   on  July    24.      It  comprised  the 

1  Afterwards   Admiral    Sir   Arthur  Farquhar,  K.C.H.      He    died    in    1908,    aged 
ninety-three. 


136  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Nemesis,  the  Royalist,  and  the  Ranee  (the  Moeander's  little 
steam  tender),  seven  men-of-war  boats,  and  the  Rajah's 
Malay  force  of  eighteen  war  prahus  manned  by  640  Malays. 
At  the  mouth  detachments  of  Lundu  and  Balau  Sea-Dayaks, 
and  Malays  from  Samarahan  and  Sadong  joined,  which 
brought  the  native  force  up  to  a  total  of  seventy  prahus  with 
2500  men.  The  Royalist  was  towed  by  the  Nemesis  into 
the  Batang  Lupar,  and  left  to  guard  that  river  off  the  mouth 
of  the  Lingga,  and  the  latter  went  on  to  the  entrance  of  the 
Saribas,  where,  with  the  ships'  boats,  she  took  up  her  posi- 
tion. The  main  force  joined  her  on  the  28th,  and  the  same 
evening  information  was  received  that  a  large  piratical  bala, 
under  the  command  of  the  Datu  Patinggi  of  Saribas  and  the 
principal  Malays,  had  left  the  Saribas  two  days  previously 
and  had  gone  northwards.  The  Rajah  and  Captain 
Farquhar  immediately  determined  to  intercept  them  on  their 
return.  With  twelve  war  prahus  and  two  men-of-war 
cutters  the  Rajah  took  up  a  position  across  the  mouth  of 
the  Kalaka,  to  prevent  the  pirates  gaining  their  way  home 
by  that  river.  The  Nemesis,  with  the  rest  of  the  force, 
blocked  the  Saribas,  and  the  only  other  route  open  to  them 
via  the  Batang  Lupar  was  guarded  by  the  Royalist.  There 
was  an  alternative  way  back,  a  long  one,  up  the  Rcjang  and 
Kanowit,  but  they  were  not  likely  to  take  this.  On  the 
evening  of  the  31st,  a  rocket  sent  up  from  the  Rajah 
Singha}  the  Rajah's  war  prahu,  announced  the  approach  of 
the  enemy.  They  came  on  boldly,  and,  perceiving  the  force 
at  the  entrance  of  the  Kalaka,  but  not  the  more  formidable 
one  hidden  by  the  long  promontory  separating  the  mouths 
of  the  two  rivers,  dashed  on  for  the  Saribas  with  defiant 
yells,  to  encounter  in  the  growing  darkness  greater  peril, 
and  thus  commenced  the  most  famous  fight  in  the  Sarawak 
annals,  which  brought  a  just  retribution  on  these  savage 
pirates  and  for  ever  broke  their  power,  the  battle  of  Beting 
Maru.2  Met  with  showers  of  grape,  cannister,  rockets, 
and  musketry  from  the  Nemesis  and  the  boats,  and  the 
savage  onslaughts  of  the  native  levies  mad  for  revenge,  well 

1  An^litf.  King  Lion. 

'-'   Beting  Maru  is  the  name  of  :i   long  sand-spit  running  into  the  sea  between  the 
Kalaka  and  Saribas  rivers  < iff  the  Maru  river. 


THE   PIRATES  137 

led  by  the  Rajah's  English  and  Malay  officers,  and  with 
their  retreat  intercepted  by  the  Rajah's  division,  the  pirates 
were  soon  thrown  into  confusion,  and  thought  only  of 
escape.  But  cut  off  in  all  directions,  for  five  hours,  in 
bright  moonlight,  they  had  to  sustain  a  series  of  encounters 
extending  over  a  distance  of  ten  miles.  At  midnight  all 
was  over.  About  a  dozen  bangkongs  escaped,  whilst  over 
a  hundred  were  destroyed,  and  the  enemy  had  lost  about 
300  killed.  This  loss  would  have  been  far  heavier  had  the 
Rajah  allowed  his  native  forces  to  intercept  the  retreat  of  the 
great  numbers  who  had  landed  and  escaped  into  the  jungle, 
and  this  could  have  easily  been  effected  ;  as  it  was,  500 
died  of  wounds,  exposure,  and  starvation,  or  were  cut  off 
before  they  could  reach  their  homes.  Of  those  who 
succeeded  in  escaping  up  the  Saribas  that  night  was  the 
famous  Dayak  chief  Linggir,  who,  with  seventeen  war-boats, 
had  made  a  desperate  attack  on  the  Nemesis,  which  resulted 
in  the  destruction  of  all  the  boats  with  their  crews  except 
his.1 

Had  this  expedition  started  but  a  few  days  earlier,  the 
mischief  that  had  been  done  would  have  been  prevented, 
though  that  mischief  was  far  less  than  it  would  have  been  had 
not  the  pirates  been  forced  to  beat  a  hasty  retreat  on  receiv- 
ing news  that  so  powerful  a  force  was  out  against  them. 
They  had  attacked  Matu,  but  that  town  was  found  to  be 
too  well  prepared  to  be  carried  without  considerable  loss,  and, 
their  aim  being  not  glory  but  to  procure  heads,  captives,  and 
plunder,  with  the  least  possible  risk  to  themselves,  they 
retreated  in  search  of  easier  prey  after  sustaining  a  loss  of 
ten  killed,  but  not  before  they  had  taken  a  detached  house 
in  which  they  obtained  seven  heads  and  captured  four  girls. 

1  This  same  Linggir  in  1845  attempted  to  murder  the  Rajah  and  his  officers  and 
other  English  guests  whilst  at  dinner  in  the  Rajah's  house  at  Kuching.  He  marched 
into  the  dining-room  with  eighty  armed  men,  pretending  to  pay  a  friendly  visit.  The 
Rajah  and  his  guests  adopted  the  only  policy  open  to  them,  and  pretended  as  well  to 
be  friendly,  for  they  were  completely  at  the  mercy  of  the  Dayaks.  They  entertained 
their  unwelcome  guests  with  wine  and  cigars  whilst  waiting  for  the  Datus,  to  whom 
the  Rajah  had  contrived  covertly  to  send  a  message.  The  Datu  Temanggong  arrived 
first  with  thirty  men,  and  then  came  the  Datu  Bandar  with  fifty  men.  The  Datus 
wished  to  kill  Linggir  for  his  intended  treachery,  the  Rajah,  however,  spared  him, 
perhaps  unwisely,  but  he  had  to  slink  away  to  his  boat  with  a  flea  in  his  ear.  He  had 
actually  brought  with  him  a  basket  to  contain  the  Rajah's  head.  He  afterwards 
became  a  peaceable  citizen,  and  very  friendly  to  the  white  men. 


138  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Palo  they  had  plundered,  and  had  there  seized  three  girls  ;  * 
they  spared  the  place  as  being  the  main  source  of  their  salt 
supply.  Two  vessels  trading  to  Singapore  were  captured, 
and  the  crew  of  one  were  all  killed.  Serikei  proved  too  strong 
for  them.  A  detachment  had  gone  westward,  and  off 
Sambas  the)-  killed  some  Chinese  fishermen  and  took  their 
heads.  At  Sirhasan,  one  of  the  Natuna  islands,  they 
captured  a  trading  vessel,  and  on  their  way  back  to  join 
the  main  fleet  attacked  the  Malays  living  at  the  mouth  of 
Muaratebas,  but  were  repulsed  after  a  desperate  fight.  A 
trading  prahu  was  there  seized,  the  owner  and  five  of  the 
crew  being  killed.  Coming  across  Abang  Husin,  a  nephew 
of  the  Datu  Temanggong,  they  killed  him  and  his  boat's 
crew  of  six,  after  a  gallant  defence. 

A  couple  of  days  having  been  spent  in  destroying  the 
captured  bangkongs  and  securing  prisoners,  the  expedition 
proceeded  up  the  Saribas  river.  After  some  exciting 
episodes  and  hard  work  in  cutting  their  way  through 
innumerable  trees,  which  had  been  felled  across  the  river  to 
impede  their  progress,  the  force  reached  Paku,  which  was 
taken  and  burnt  for  the  second  time.  The  expedition  then 
proceeded  up  the  Rejang,  to  punish  the  Sekrang  Dayaks 
living  in  the  Kanowit.  Eighteen  villages  were  destroyed, 
and  the  country  laid  waste  for  a  hundred  miles.  This  done, 
the  Rajah  returned  to  Kuching  with  the  whole  force,  arriv- 
ing there  on  August  the  24th.  With  him  came  many 
Serikei  people,  who  wished  to  escape  from  the  tyranny  of 
Sherip  Masahor,2  an  infamous  and  intriguing  half-bred  Arab 
chief,  who  appears  to  have  but  lately  settled  in  the  Rejang 
as  the  Bruni  governor,  and  who  in  the  near  future  was  to 
cause  the  Sarawak  Government  considerable  trouble. 

After  the  battle  of  Beting  Maru,  the  well-inclined  Malay 
and  Dayak  chiefs  of  the  Sekrang  were  once  more  raised  to 
power,  and  the  Rajah  built  a  fort  at  Sekrang,  of  which 
Sherip  Matusain,  who  has  been  before  mentioned  as  having 
taken  a  prominent  part  on  the  side  of  the  Sarawak  Malays 
in    the   rebellion  against  Bruni,  was  placed   in   charge.      The 

1  These  unfortunate  girls,  and  those  taken  at   Matu,  were  barbarously  murdered 
by  the  pirates  to  prevent  their  being  rescued. 

'-'  Or  better,  Mashhor,  an  Arabic  word  meaning  illustrious. 


THE   PIRATES  139 

fort  was  built  to  uphold  the  friendly  and  non-piratical  party 
against  the  interior  piratical  tribes,  to  prevent  the  latter 
passing  down  to  the  sea,  and  as  a  position  for  the  advance- 
ment of  commerce.  It  was  built  entirely  by  Sekrang 
Malays  and  Dayaks  under  the  supervision  of  Mr.  Crookshank, 
and  when  Mr.  Brereton *  went  there  shortly  afterwards  to 
take  charge,  at  the  request  of  the  natives  that  a  European 
might  be  placed  over  them,  he  was  entirely  dependent  on 
their  good-will,  having  no  force  of  any  sort,  to  support  his 
authority. 

The  Saribas  and  the  Sekrangs  now  submitted,  the 
former  too  utterly  broken  to  do  further  mischief  by  sea,  and 
the  latter  frightened  by  the  lesson  that  had  been  administered 
to  their  allies  and  themselves,"  and  by  the  establishment  of  a 
Government  station  in  their  district.  Such  was  the  effect  of 
this  chastisement  that  piracy  was  almost  completely  put  an  end 
to  in  these  turbulent  tribes  ;  then  had  the  land  rest  to  recover, 
the  waste  places  to  revive,  the  towns  to  be  rebuilt,  and  the 
population  to  increase.  In  but  a  very  few  years  the  bulk  of 
these  very  tribes  which  had  been  the  scourge  of  the  country 
were  reduced  to  peaceable  and  industrious  citizens. 

But  trouble  far-reaching,  on  which  he  had  not  calculated, 
was  in  store  for  the  Rajah  through  this  expedition.  It  came 
at  a  time  when  he  was  weakened  in  health  from  continuous 
exposure  and  the  severe  strain  he  had  undergone,  which  had 
brought  him  near  death's  door,  and  it  came  ("rom  a  quarter 
the  least  expected.  He  "  had  risked  life,  given  money,  and 
sacrificed  health  to  effect  a  great  object  ; " 3  and  had  made 
the  coast  from  cape  Datu  to  Marudu  bay  as  safe  as  the 
English  Channel  to  vessels  of  all  flags  and  all  sizes,  and  now  he 
had  to  bear  with  the  malicious  tongues  and  persecutions  of 
the  humanity-mongers  of  England,  who  were  first  prompted 
to  attack  the  Rajah  by  his  discarded  agent,  Mr.  Wise.  This 
man  was  embittered  against  the  Rajah  for  his  refusal  to  sell 
Sarawak   to  a   company  ;   by   being   called   to   account   for  a 

1  Mr.  W.  Brereton  first  came  to  Sarawak  in  the  Samarang,  as  a  midshipman, 
in  1843.  In  1848  he  left  the  Navy  and  joined  the  Rajah.  He  was  first  stationed  at 
Labuan.  He  was  only  twenty  years  of  age  when  appointed  to  take  charge  of 
Sekrang. 

a  The  Sekrangs  lost  heavily  at  the  battle  of  Beting  Maru. 

3  Private  Letters. 


140  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

loss  he  had  caused  the  Rajah  of  some  thousands  of  pounds  ; 
and  by  some  unfavourable  comments  the  Rajah  had  made 
on  his  actions,  which  had  come  to  his  knowledge  owing  to 
certain  private  letters  of  the  Rajah  not  intended  for  his  eyes 
having  fallen  into  his  hands.  Wise  had  offered  to  make  the 
Rajah  "one  of  the  richest  commoners  in  England,"  and 
presumedly  saw  his  way  to  becoming  one  too,  but  the  Rajah 
preferred  "  the  real  interests  of  Sarawak  and  the  plain 
dictates  of  duty  to  the  golden  baited  hook."  ' 

Cobden,  Hume,  Sidney  Herbert,  and  afterwards  Gladstone, 
as  well  as  others  of  that  faction,  took  up  the  cause  of  the 
pirates,  and  the  Rajah  and  the  naval  officers  who  had  been 
engaged  since  1843  in  suppressing  the  Saribas  and  Sekrangs 
were  attacked  with  acrimony  as  butchers  of  peaceful  and 
harmless  natives — and  all  for  the  sake  of  extending  the 
Sarawak  raj.  The  Spectator  and  the  Daily  News  bitterly 
assailed  the  Rajah,  relying  upon  information  supplied  through 
the  medium  of  a  Singapore  newspaper  ;  and  the  Peace 
Society  and  the  Aborigines  Protection  Society,  laid  on  a 
false  scent  by  those  whom  they  should  not  have  trusted, 
became  scurrilous  in  their  advocacy  of  cold-blooded  murderers 
and  pirates.  , 

After  having  brought  the  "  cruel  butchery "  of  Beting 
Maru  to  the  attention  of  the  House  of  Commons  on  three 
occasions,  Joseph  Hume,  on  July  12,  1850,  moved  an  address 
to  her  Majesty,  bringing  to  the  notice  of  the  House  "one  of 
the  most  atrocious  massacres  that  had  ever  taken  place  in  his 
time."  He  supported  the  motion  with  glaring  and  wilful 
mis-statements,  and  brought  disgraceful  charges  against  the 
Rajah,  whom  he  branded  as  "the  promoter  of  deeds  of  blood- 
shed and  cruelty."  The  Navy  he  charged  with  wholesale 
murder,  and  the  poor  victims  of  the  massacre  he  described  as 
a  harmless  and  timid  people." 

Cobden,  who  supported  the  motion,  called  the  battle  of 

1  Private  Letters. 

2  To  show  how  these  charges  were  supported  by  wilful  and  gross  exaggerations, 
that  could  only  have  been  made  for  the  express  purpose  of  deceiving  the  public,  and 
which  were  as  ridiculous  as  they  were  mischievous,  Hume  stated  that  it  was  doubtful 
whether  a  portion  of  the  Royal  Navy  of  China,  which  was  reported  to  be  off  the  toast 
at  the  time  for  the  purpose  of  making  peace  with  these  people  (the  Saribas  and 
Sekrangs),  had  not  been  destroyed  by  the  expedition  ! 


THE  PIRATES  141 

Beting  Maru  a  human  battue,  than  which  there  was  never 
anything  more  unprovoked.  He  could  not  do  homage  to 
the  Rajah  as  a  great  philanthropist  seeing  that  he  had  no 
other  argument  for  the  savages  than  extermination. 

The  Rajah  was  ably  defended  by  Mr.  Henry  Drummond, 
who  exposed  Wise's  conduct  ;  and  the  motion  was  lost  by 
a  majority  of  140  in  a  House  of  198. 

At  Birmingham,  Cobden  asserted  that  the  Rajah,  "  who 
had  gone  out  to  the  Eastern  Archipelago  as  a  private 
adventurer,  had  seized  upon  a  territory  as  large  as  Yorkshire, 
and  then  drove  out  the  natives  ;  and  who,  under  the  pretence 
that  they  were  pirates,  subsequently  sent  for  our  fleet  and 
men  to  massacre  them  .  .  .  the  atrocities  perpetrated  by 
Sir  James  Brooke  in  Borneo  had  been  continually  quoted 
in  the  Austrian  newspapers  as  something  which  threw  into 
the  shade  the  horrible  atrocities  of  Haynau  himself." 

The  following  year,  on  July  10,  Hume  moved  for  a 
Royal  Commission  to  enquire  into  the  proceedings  of  Sir 
James  Brooke,  but  this  was  negatived  by  230  votes  to  19. 
He  went  a  little  further  this  time,  and  drew  harrowing 
pictures  of  "  cruel  butcheries,  and  brutal  murders  of  the 
helpless  and  defenceless."  Sir  James  Brooke,  he  said, 
attacked  none  but  the  poor  Dayaks,  and  even  their  wives 
and  children  were  destroyed.  He  even  went  so  far  as  to 
deny  that  the  Saribas  were  head-hunters. 

Gladstone  bore  high  testimony  to  the  Rajah's  char- 
acter and  motives.  His  entire  confidence  in  the  Rajah's 
honour  and  integrity  led  him  to  accept  his  statements  with 
unqualified  and  unreserved  belief.  He  adjudged  the  Dayaks 
of  being  addicted  to  barbarous  warfare  and  piracy,  and 
maintained  that  there  were  not  sufficient  grounds  for  the 
motion,  against  which  he  voted.  He,  however,  contended 
that  most  of  the  pirates  were  killed  when  not  resisting, 
and  had  been  deliberately  sacrificed  in  the  act  of  fleeing. 
This  unhappily  gave  rise  to  doubts,  which  subsequently 
caused  him  to  entirely  change  his  opinions,  and  to  completely 
veer  round  to  the  other  side. 

Lord  Palmerston  denounced  the  charges  against  the 
Rajah    "  as    malignant    and    persevering   persecution    of    an 


i42  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

honourable  man,"  and  Mr.  Drummond  rightly  denied 
"  that,  from  beginning  to  end,  this  motion  had  any  other 
foundation  than  a  personal  determination  to  ruin  Sir  James 
Brooke."  "  The  whole  of  this  transaction  from  first  to  last 
was  a  very  discreditable  affair,"  he  said.  "  The  gentlemen 
of  England  echoed  him," x  and  the  nation  too,  judging  by 
the  tone  of  the  press,  which  (with  the  exception  of  one  or 
two  papers),  from  The  Times  downwards,  supported  the 
Rajah.2 

Her  Majesty's  Government  had  notified  the  Rajah  of 
their  approval  of  all  he  had  done,  and  he  was  instructed  to 
follow  the  same  course  should  a  similar  necessity  arise. 

But  Wise,  Hume,  Cobden,  and  their  adherents  were  only 
checked,  and,  huffed  by  their  defeats,  continued  their  efforts 
to  ruin  the  Rajah's  character  and  administration  with  in- 
creased bitterness,  unfortunately  in  the  end  to  obtain  a 
partial  success  ;  but  we  will  leave  this  subject  for  a  while,  to 
turn  briefly  to  events  in  Sarawak. 

As  a  commentary  on  Mr.  Cobden's  assertion  that  the 
natives  were  being  driven  out  of  Sarawak,  the  population  of 
the  raj  in  1850  had  increased  to  50,000  from  8000  in 
1840,  and  this  increase  was  due  to  immigration  from  the 
neighbouring  countries,  where  the  people  had  been  the  con- 
stant prey  of  pirates,  head-hunters,  and  their  own  oppressive 
rulers,  and  for  these  over-burdened  people  the  Rajah  had 
supplied  a  haven.  The  Chinese  colony  in  upper  Sarawak 
was  augmented  by  the  arrival  of  five  thousand  Chinese 
refugees  from  Pemangkat  in  Dutch  territory,  who  had  come 
to  Sarawak  to  escape  the  tyranny  of  their  more  powerful 
neighbours  and  rivals,  the  Chinese  of  Montrado.  These 
latter  had  successfully  rebelled  against  the  authority  of  the 
Dutch,  and   were   now   oppressing   their   weaker   neighbours, 

1   Keppel,   Voyage  to  the  Indian  Archipelago. 

important  fact   that   in   all  their  marauding  expeditions  the   Saribas  and 
Sekrang  Dayaks  were  mixed  up  with  the  Malays  of  the  Saribas  and  Batang  Lupar, 

who  not  Only  commanded  and  led  them,  hut  accompanied  them  in  large  numbers 
seems  to  have  been  quite  overlooked  by  both  the  Rajah's  accusers  and  his  supporters. 
This  in  itself  is  a  sufficient  indication  of  the  piratical  nature  of  these  expeditions.  The 
character  of  these  Malays  .1^  pirates  was  at  least  beyond  question,  and  to  assert  that 
they  went  with  these  poor  "harmless  and  timid"  Dayaks  to  assi>l  them  in  their 
intertribal  feuds  would  be  a  very  wide  stretch  of  imagination.  We  have  shown  that 
the  force  routed  on  Beting  Main  was  led  by  Malays. 


THE   PIRATES  143 

both  Chinese  and  Dayak.  The  Kayan  and  Kenyahs  of  the 
Baram,  who  had  been  in  rebellion  against  the  Sultan, 
had  sent  messages  offering  to  accept  the  Rajah  as  their 
chief,  and  those  of  the  Rejang  assisted  in  building  the  new 
fort  at  the  mouth  of  the  Kanowit.  This  fort  was  erected  by 
the  Rajah  to  protect  the  inhabitants  of  the  Rejang  delta,  and 
of  Oya  and  Muka,  by  blocking  the  egress  by  the  Kanowit  river 
to  the  Sekrang  and  Saribas  Dayaks.  All  these  countries, 
including  the  Sekrang,  where  a  station  had  already  been 
established,  were  under  the  de  jure  rule  of  the  Sultan,  but 
the  inhabitants  now  looked  upon  the  Rajah  as  their  ruler. 
The  Sultan  had  long  been  helpless  to  govern  the  disturbed 
districts  ;  his  authority  was  not  recognised  by  the  population, 
and  the  chiefs  appointed  by  him  acted  to  gain  their  own 
ends,  the  enriching  of  themselves  at  the  expense  of  the  people. 
The  Sultan  had  placed  himself  in  the  Rajah's  hands,  and 
was  well  pleased  that  he  should  pacify  and  introduce  order 
into  these  districts,  more  perhaps  in  his  own  interests  than 
in  those  of  his  own  people,  for  whose  welfare  he  cared  little  ; 
they  paid  him  no  revenue,  and  that  he  hoped  the  Rajah 
would  secure  for  him. 

Bandar  Kasim,  in  spite  of  warnings,  was  again  oppressing 
his  people  in  the  Sadong.  The  Rajah  had  deposed  him  in 
1848,  and  had  appointed  his  brother,  Abang  Leman,1  in  his 
place,  but  the  change  brought  no  benefit  to  the  people,  it 
gave  them  but  an  additional  tyrant,  for  both  were  now 
behaving  badly,  and  the  Bandar  had  to  be  removed. 

After  visiting  Labuan,  the  Rajah  went  to  Penang  for  a 
much-needed  change,  and  there  received  instructions  from 
the  Foreign  Office  to  proceed  to  Siam  on  a  diplomatic  mission. 
He  left  for  Bangkok  in  August.  To  quote  his  own  words  : 
"  The  mission  was  a  dead  failure,  as  the  Siamese  are  as 
hostile  and  opposed  to  Europeans  as  any  people  can  well 
be.  I  had  a  very  trying  time  of  it,  and  altogether  got  rid  of 
an  unpleasant  and  critical  position  without  loss  of  national 
and  individual  credit."  A  short  time  before  an  American 
mission  had  also  been  similarly  repulsed. 

1  Married  to  a  daughter  of  the  Datu  Patinggi  Gapur.  He  was  afterwards  selected 
by  Sherip  Masahor's  party  to  murder  the  present  Rajah,  but  the  task  was  not  to 
his  liking. 


144  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

During  the  Rajah's  absence,  an  envoy  from  the  United 
States  had  arrived  at  Kuching  bearing  a  letter  from  the 
President  addressed  to  him  as  Sovereign  Prince  of  Sarawak, 
and  expressing  a  desire  to  enter  into  friendly  relations.  The 
envoy  informed  the  Rajah  by  letter  that  having  been  entrusted 
with  full  powers  he  was  ready  to  sign  a  treaty  with  Sarawak, 
and  that  he  was  to  thank  the  Rajah  "  in  the  name  of  the 
American  nation  for  his  exertions  in  the  suppression  of 
piracy,"  and  to  compliment  him  on  his  noble  and  "humane 
endeavours  to  bring  his  subjects  and  the  neighbouring  tribes 
of  Malays  into  a  condition  of  civilisation."  Lord  Palmerston 
saw  no  objection  to  the  Rajah  entering  into  diplomatic 
relations  as  Rajah  of  Sarawak  with  the  United  States.1 

In  January,  185  I,  the  Rajah,  leaving  Captain  Brooke  in 
charge,  again  left  for  England  on  account  of  the  bad  state  of 
his  health.  He  came  home  for  rest  and  quiet,  but  this  was 
denied  him,  and  he  had  to  sum  up  all  his  energies,  and 
expend  time  and  money  to  contend  against  the  active  and 
bitter  hostility  of  his  Radical  opponents  in  England,  who  in 
spite  of  adverse  majorities  in  the  House  of  Commons  and 
the  opposition  of  some  of  the  most  prominent  politicians  in 
both  Houses,  continued  their  malignant  persecution  with 
great  persistency  both  in  and  out  of  Parliament. 

In  1853,  the  Aberdeen  coalition  Ministry  came  into 
power,  which,  like  all  coalitions,  was  feeble  and  lived  by 
compromise.  This  Ministry  agreed  to  give  what  Hume  and 
his  faction  asked,  and  had  thrice  been  refused  by  the 
House  by  large  majorities,"  a  commission  of  enquiry  into 
the  conduct  of  the  Rajah,  before  which  he  was  to  be  called 
upon  to  defend  himself  against  allegations  scouted  by  the 
House,  the  incorrectness  of  which  could  be  proved  by  the 
leading  statesmen  of  the  day,  including  such  men  as  the 
Earl  of  Derby,  Earl  Grey,  Viscount  Palmerston,  and  Lord 
John  Russell.3  The  Ministry  most  disingenuously  kept  their 
decision  a  secret  from  the  Rajah  until  after  he  had  left 
England,  though  not  from  Hume,  who  was  able  to  send 
information  to  his  coadjutors  in  Singapore  that  it  was  granted. 

1   From  Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke,  St.  John. 

-  May  1850,   145  to  20  ;  June  1850,  169  to  29  ;  Jul)-  1851,  230  to  19. 

:  The  Rajah  to  Lord  Clarendon,  December  25,  1853. 


THE  PIRATES  145 

They  had  got  up  an  address  to  him,  by  the  most  unscrupulous 
devices,  expressing  approval  of  all  that  he  had  done,  and 
urging  that  an  enquiry  might  be  instituted  into  the  conduct  of 
the  Rajah  by  a  Commission  sent  from  England.  This  address 
was  purported  to  have  been  signed  by  fifty-three  merchants 
of  Singapore.  Afterwards,  when  the  Commission  sat  in 
Singapore,  only  twenty-seven  merchant  firms  were  found  to 
exist  there,  and  of  these  twenty-two  had  signed  an  address 
of  confidence  in  the  Rajah.  Some  of  those  who  had  signed 
the  address  to  Hume,  and  who  put  in  an  appearance  before 
the  Commission,  exposed  the  way  in  which  their  signatures 
had  been  obtained  by  misrepresentations. 

On  April  30th,  1852,  a  great  dinner  was  given  to  the 
Rajah  at  the  London  Tavern,  to  mark  the  sense  entertained 
of  the  eminent  services  rendered  by  him  in  the  interests  of 
commerce  and  humanity,  by  his  endeavours  to  put  down  the 
evils  of  piracy  in  the  Eastern  Archipelago,  and  by  his 
labours  to  advance  civilisation  in  that  part  of  the  world. 
The  company,  which  numbered  two  hundred,  included 
members  of  Parliament,  Governors  of  the  Bank  of  England, 
East  India  Company  Directors,  officers  in  the  Army  and 
Navy,  and  many  others. 

The  Rajah  delivered  a  speech,  which,  for  truth  and  feeling, 
language  and  action,  will  never  be  forgotten  by  those  who  had  the 
privilege  of  hearing  him  ;  .  .  .  and  the  feeling  was  current  that 
should  a  crisis  ever  arise  in  the  fortunes  of  this  country,  he  would 
be  the  man  of  action,  who  ought  forthwith  to  be  called  to  the 
councils  of  the  nation.1 

Only  the  opening  passages  of  this  speech  can  be  given, 
made  in  response  to  the  toast  of  his  health  : — 

I  will  not  pretend,  gentlemen,  to  that  species  of  pride  which  apes 
humility.  I  will  not  say  that  I  am  wholly  unworthy  of  your  regard, 
but  I  will  tell  you  something  of  the  position  I  hold  in  the  East. 
Your  approval  of  my  conduct  is  no  light  condemnation  of  the  con- 
duct of  those  who  have  sought  by  every  means,  fair  or  unfair,  to 
blast  my  reputation,  even  at  the  risk  of  injuring  their  own ;  who 
under  the  pretence  of  humanity  have  screened  injustice,  and  on  the 
plea  of  enquiry,  have  been  unscrupulous  enough  to  charge  murder. 

1  John  C.  Templar,  Private  Letters  of  the  Rajah,  v.  iii.  p.  117. 

L 


146  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

It  is  now  but  a  little  more  than  five  years  since  I  was  the  idol  of  a 
spurious  popularity  ;  it  is  more  than  three  years  that  I  have  been  the 
object,  but  happily  not  the  victim,  of  an  unprecedented  persecution, 
and  it  will  afford  me  no  light  satisfaction  if  this  night  a  fair  and 
moderate  estimate  can  be  formed  of  my  motives  and  conduct. 
Praise  and  blame  have  been  lavished  upon  me  with  no  sparing  hand. 
I  have  been  accused  of  every  crime  from  murder  to  merchandise. 
I  have  been  held  up  as  a  prodigy  of  perfection,  and  I  have  been  cast 
down  as  a  monster  of  iniquity.  These,  gentlemen,  are  the  extremes 
which  human  folly  delights  in  ;  these  are  the  distortions  which  the 
tribunes  of  the  people  represent  as  Bible  truths  to  the  multitude, 
these  the  delusions  which  a  hackneyed  politician  uses  lightly,  to 
wound  feelings  he  has  long  outlived,  and  to  cast  a  slur  upon  Her 
Majesty's  servants.  The  evil,  I  fear,  is  inevitable,  but  it  is  no  less 
an  evil,  that  public  morals,  in  such  hands,  should  sink  like  water  to 
its  lowest  and  dirtiest  level. 

In  replying  for  the  Bench,  the  Hon.  Baron  Alderson 
said  : — 

I  am  sorry  to  say  that  in  one  respect  I  differ  from  Sir  James 
Brooke  and  the  Chairman,  in  that  they  expressed  something  of  regret 
that  our  distinguished  guest  had  not  the  approbation  of  all  mankind. 
I  do  not  think  Sir  James  Brooke  would  deserve  it  if  he  had  it ;  for 
I  have  always  observed — and  I  believe  history  will  confirm  me — 
that  the  greatest  benefactors  of  the  human  race  have  been  the  most 
abused  in  their  own  time,  and  I  therefore  think  Sir  James  Brooke 
ought  to  be  congratulated  because  he  is  abused. 

In  England,  especially,  it  is  the  case  that  the  little  men 
who  bray  their  philanthropic  sentiments  on  platforms  are 
almost  always  found  in  opposition  to  and  decrying  those 
men  who  are  doing  mighty  deeds  for  the  advancement  and 
happiness  of  mankind.  There  exists  in  narrow  minds  a 
mean  pleasure  in  decrying  those  who  tower  above  them 
intellectually  and  morally.  They  do  not  blow  themselves 
up  to  equal  the  ox,  but  they  spit  their  poison  at  him  in 
hopes  of  bringing  him  down  to  their  level.  And  the  unfor- 
tunate result  of  the  weakness  of  party  government  is  that 
the  party  which  is  in  power  is  always,  or  almost  always, 
ready  to  throw  over  a  great  public  servant  to  silence  the 
yelping  of  the  pack  that  snarl  about  his  heels.  It  was  so 
with  Governor  Eyre,  it  was  so  with  Sir  Bartlc  Frere,  it  was 
so  with  General  Gordon,  and   it  was  so  with  Sir  Bampfyldc 


THE   PIRATES  147 

Fuller.  "  The  time  will  come  in  our  country  when  no 
gentleman  will  serve  the  public,  and  your  blackguards  and 
your  imbeciles  may  have  a  monoply  of  appointments,"  so  in 
indignant  sorrow  wrote  the  Rajah.  Though  surprised  and 
hurt  at  what  had  been  said  and  done,  he  was  not  disturbed, 
and  he  treated  his  defamers  with  contempt  and  indifference, 
"  conscious  of  right  motives,  and  firm  in  right  action."  l 

The  Rajah  left  England  in  April,  1853.  On  his  arrival 
in  Sarawak  he  was  attacked  by  small-pox.  There  was  no 
doctor  in  Kuching  at  the  time,  but  he  was  successfully 
nursed  through  his  illness  by  his  devoted  officers,  both 
English  and  native,  amongst  the  latter  being  Sherip  Matusain, 
who  had  lately  been  recalled  from  Sekrang  in  disgrace,  and 
who  now  became  one  of  his  doctors.  Prayers  for  his 
recovery  were  nightly  offered  in  the  mosque,  and  Malay 
houses.  Offerings  for  his  recovery  were  made  in  the  shape 
of  alms  by  the  Indians  ;  and  votive  oblations  were  made  in 
their  temples  by  the  Chinese.  The  Rev.  A.  Horsburgh,  who 
did  so  much  to  pull  him  through  his  illness,  wrote  : — 

The  joy  in  Sarawak  when  all  danger  was  over  was  very  great, 
for  all  had  been  equally  distressed,  and  many  fervent  prayers  in 
church,  mosque,  and  temple,  were  offered  for  his  recovery. 

But  we  will  here  briefly  interrupt  the  sequence  of  events 
to  give  in  unbroken  record  the  sequel  that  happily 
terminated  the  unprecedented  persecutions  which  the  Rajah 
was  subjected  to  for  over  five  years,  for  the  miserable  fiasco 
of  the  Commission,  the  direct  result  of  these  persecutions,  left 
the  Rajah's  defamers  powerless  and  humiliated,  and  the 
Government  in  a  disgraceful  dilemma. 

The  Commission  sat  in  Singapore  during  the  months  of 
September  and  October,  1854.  It  consisted  of  two  gentle- 
men, Mr.  C.  R.  Prinsep,  Advocate-General  at  Calcutta, 
already  afflicted  with  the  mental  malady  to  which  he 
soon  after  succumbed,  and  the  Hon.  Humphrey  B. 
Devereaux,  of  the  Bengal  Civil  Service.  At  the  first  and 
second  meetings,  of  which  due  notice  had  been  given,  to  the 
surprise  of  the  Commissioners  no  one  appeared  to  support 

1  Private  Letters. 


148  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

the  charges  contained  in  the  address  to  Mr.  Hume,  and 
subpoenas  had  to  be  served  on  several  of  the  subscribers  to 
that  address.  As  a  result,  sixteen  witnesses  were  produced 
in  support  of  these  charges,  and  not  one  of  them  deposed 
to  any  acts  within  his  own  knowledge  which  negatived  the 
practice  of  piracy  by  the  Saribas  and  Sekrangs  ;  three 
deposed  to  specific  piratical  acts  of  those  tribes  ;  and  one 
rather  established  than  controverted  their  piratical  character. 
On  the  other  hand,  twenty-four  witnesses  called  by  the 
Commissioners,  with  Mr.  J.  Bondriot,1  late  Resident  of 
Sambas,  Dutch  Borneo  (who  volunteered  his  evidence) 
deposed  expressly  to  acts  of  piracy  on  the  part  of  these 
people.  Traders  and  nakodas  from  Borneo,  who  were 
present  in  Singapore,  were  deterred  from  coming  forward  to 
give  evidence  by  reports  disseminated  amongst  them  by  the 
personal  opponents  of  the  Rajah  that  their  attendance  would 
lead  to  detention  and  inconvenience.  The  contention  that 
the  attacks  of  the  Saribas  and  Sekrang  Dayaks  were  merely 
acts  of  intertribal  hostility  was  not  upheld.  The  charge  of 
wrongful  and  causeless  attack  and  massacre  wholly  failed 
of  proof,  and  was  sufficiently  negatived."  This  was  the 
judgment  of  Mr.  Prinseps,  and  so  far  his  brother  Com- 
missioner was  with  him,  for,  after  dealing  with  their  general 
character,  Mr.  Devereaux  sums  up  by  saying  that  the  Saribas 
and  Sekrang  were  piratical,  and  deserved  the  punishment 
they  received,  and  that  in  conflicts  with  such  men  atrocities, 
in  the  ordinary  sense  of  the  term,  are  not  easily  committed.3 
These  were  the  main  points  which  mostly  concerned  the 
public,  and  upon  which  were  based  the  grave  accusations 
that  it  had  been  the  pleasure  of  Mr.  Hume  and  his  adherents 

1  The  Dutch  Resident  of  Western  Borneo,  not  of  Sambas  only.  He  certified  that 
on  one  raid  the  Saribas  and  Sekrangs  killed  four  hundred  people  on  the  Dutch  coast. 
Referred  to  bv  Earl  in  his  Eastci-n  Seas  ;  he  relates  that  the  Dayaks  swept  the  whole 
coast  from  Sekrang  to  Sambas,  killing  the  entire  population  of  Selakau.  As  far  back 
as  1825,  the  Resident  of  Sambas  (Van  <  irave  and  his  secretary  were  killed  on  their  way 
to  Pontianak  in  a  small  vessel.  Keppel  tells  us  the  Saribas  once  laid  in  wait  for 
"  the  I  Dutch)  man-of-war  schooner  Haai,  and  in  one  engagement  killed  thirty-seven 
of  the  Dutch,  losing  eighty  of  their  own  force."  Keppel's  book,  ./  Voyage  to  the 
■  11  Archipelago  in  iSjo,  contains  an  able  refutation  of  the  charges  made  by 
Hume  and  Cobden. 

-  The  foregoing  particulars  are  taken  from  Mr.  Prinseps'  report,  dated  January  6. 

1855- 

J  From  Mr.  Devereaux's  report. 


THE   PIRATES  149 

to  formulate  upon  totally  inadequate  and  most  unreliable 
evidence.  The  other  points  brought  by  their  instructions  to 
the  notice  of  the  Commissioners  were  matters  more  between 
the  Crown  and  the  Rajah  than  of  general  interest  to  the 
public.  Whether  the  position  of  Sir  James  Brooke  as  Rajah 
of  Sarawak  was  compatible  with  his  duties  as  British  Consul 
General  and  Commissioner,  and  with  his  character  as  a 
British  subject  ;  was  the  Rajah  engaged  in  trade  ?  and 
whether  the  Rajah  should  be  entrusted  with  a  discretion  to 
determine  which  tribes  are  piratical,  and  to  call  for  the  aid 
of  her  Majesty's  Naval  forces  for  the  punishment  of  such 
tribes,  were  points  upon  which  the  Commissioners  had  to 
decide,  and  upon  which  they  differed.  They,  however,  agreed 
that  the  Rajah  was  not  engaged  in  trade,  and  the  other 
questions,  except  the  involved  one  of  the  independence  of 
Sarawak,  had  been  solved  by  the  Rajah's  resignation  of  his 
appointments  under  the  Crown,  which  was,  however,  only 
accepted  late  in  1855,  long  after  he  had  in  weariness  of 
spirit  ceased  to  exercise  the  functions  of  those  offices. 

"  Upon  the  question  of  the  independence  of  Sarawak,  Mr. 
Prinseps  found  the  Rajah's  position  to  be  no  other  than  that 
of  a  vassal  of  the  Sultan,  holding  indeed  by  a  tenure  very 
bare,  and  easy  to  be  thrown  off  altogether."  Mr.  Devereaux 
could  give  no  definite  opinion  ;  but  it  was  a  question  to  be 
submitted  only  to  the  highest  legal  authorities,  and  the  Rajah 
justly  protested  against  the  Commissioners  dealing  with  it  ; 
and  it  is  a  question  that  has  long  since  been  settled. 

One  result  of  this  senseless  outcry  in  England  against 
the  Rajah  was  that  no  help  was  thenceforth  accorded  him 
by  the  fleet  in  the  China  and  Straits  waters.  Were  an 
insurrection  to  take  place  ;  were  the  Sekrangs  and  Saribas 
to  send  round  the  calling-out  spear  and  muster  their  clans, 
not  a  marine,  not  a  gun  would  have  been  afforded  him  by  her 
Majesty's  Government  for  his  protection,  and  such  was  the 
case  during  the  Chinese  insurrection. 

An  evidence  of  the  confidence  felt  after  the  quelling  of 
the  pirates  was  the  increase  in  trade,  the  tonnage  of  merchant 
vessels  in  1852  having  risen  to  25,000  tons,  whereas  in 
1842  the  whole  trade  was  carried  on  by  a  few  native  prahus. 


150  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Traders  were  secure  along  the  coast,  and,  as  was  testified  to 
before  the  Commission,  the  people  of  Sambas  and  Pontianak 
blessed  the  Rajah  for  the  protection  he  had  given  them 
against  the  depredations  of  the  piratical  Dayaks  ;  and  those 
of  Muka  and  Ova  were  thankful  that  he  had  settled  near 
them — a  little  later  they  had  more  reason  to  be  thankful, 
when  he  relieved  them  of  their  oppressive  rulers.  The 
Singapore  Free  Press  in  February,  1850,  said  : — 

A  few,  a  very  few  years  ago,  no  European  merchant  vessels 
ventured  on  the  north-west  coast  of  Borneo  ;  now  they  are  numerous 
and  safe.  Formerly  shipwrecked  crews  were  attacked,  robbed,  and 
enslaved  ;  now  they  are  protected,  fed,  and  forwarded  to  a  place  of 
safety.  The  native  trade  now  passes  with  careless  indifference  over 
the  same  track  between  Marudu  and  Singapore  where,  but  a  little 
while  ago,  it  was  liable  to  the  peril  of  capture ;  the  crews  of 
hundreds  of  prahus  are  no  longer  exposed  to  the  loss  of  life  and  the 
loss  of  property.  The  recent  successful  proceedings  on  the  coast  of 
Borneo  have  been  followed  by  the  submission  of  the  pirate  hordes 
of  Saribas  and  Sekrang. 

So  late  as  June,  1877,  when  the  Rajah  had  long  been 
dead,  Mr.  Gladstone  in  addressing  the  House  on  the  question 
of  Turkey  and  Bulgarian  atrocities,  and  probably  as  a  com- 
parison, said,  "  I  cannot  recollect  a  more  shameful  proceeding 
on  the  part  of  any  country  than  the  slaughter  of  the  Dayaks 
by  Her  Majesty's  forces  and  by  Sir  James  Brooke." 

Earl  Grey  and  Admiral  Farquhar  published  indignant 
replies.  Mr.  Bailie-Cochrane l  took  Mr.  Gladstone  to  task 
in  the  House,  whereupon  the  latter  shuffled  out  of  what  he 
had  said  with  less  than  his  usual  ingenuity,  by  saying  that 
he  never  meant  to  blame  the  Rajah  personally,  but  only  the 
Government.      The  following  is  from  Earl  Grey's  reply  : — 

The  additional  information  respecting  him  which  I  have  since 
gained  has  only  tended  to  confirm  the  impression  I  then  received 
that  his  character  was  a  truly  noble  one,  and  I  am  sanguine  enough 
to  believe  that  it  would  be  regarded  in  the  same  light  by  yourself  if 
you  would  be  induced  to  read  the  letters  he  addressed  to  his  mother 
in  the  early  part  of  his  career  as  Rajah  of  Sarawak.  These,  to  my 
mind,  most  beautiful  letters  are  to  be  found  in  the  very  interesting 
life  of  Sir  James  Brooke  published  some  months  ago  by  Miss  Jacob. 

-  >n  of  tne  late  Admiral  Sir  Thomas  Cochrane 


THE   PIRATES 


151 


They  were  written  while  the  events  they  describe  were  going  on,  to  a 
mother  whom  he  passionately  loved,  obviously  without  the  remotest 
idea  that  they  would  ever  be  published,  and  contain  an  account, 
bearing  the  clearest  impress  of  truth  and  sincerity  of  all  that  he  did, 
and  of  the  feelings  and  motives  by  which  he  was  guided.  We  find 
in  them  a  touching  record  of  his  pity  for  the  oppressed  Dayaks,1  of 
his  righteous  indignation  against  the  oppressors,  of  his  noble  self- 
devotion,  and  of  his  fixed  determination  to  hazard,  and  if  necessary 
to  sacrifice  for  their  welfare,  not  only  the  whole  of  his  moderate 
fortune,  but  ease,  health,  and  life  itself,  while  he  steadily  refused  to 
listen  to  all  attempts  that  were  made  to  induce  him  to  use  the 
position  he  had  acquired  for  his  own  personal  advantage. 


ATTACK  ON  S.  USMAN'S  STRONGHOLD. 


The  Commission  had  done  no  serious  harm  with  his  own 
loyal  people.  They  heard  with  bewilderment  that  the  man 
on  whom  their  prosperity,  and  indeed  their  security,  depended, 
had  been  maligned  in  England,  and  was  to  be  tried  as  a 
malefactor  in  Singapore,  and  their  dread  was  lest  he  should  be 
taken  from  their  head,  or  should  throw  up  his  task  in  disgust, 
and  the  country  be  allowed  to  relapse  into  oppression  and 
anarchy  ;  for  so  surely  as  the  Rajah  left,  would  the  pangirans 
return  and  resume  their  blood-sucking  operations  on  one  side, 
and  on  the  other  the  pirates  recover  from  their  humiliation 
and  recommence  their  depredations,  and  so  they  would  perish 
between  the  upper  and  nether  millstone. 

The  Ministry  made  no  attempt  to  remove  the  harmful 
impressions   caused   by  the   false   step   they  had   so  weakly 

1  The  Land-Dayaks. 


152  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

been  induced  to  take  ;  they  but  confirmed  these  by  making 
no  amende,  and  by  withdrawing  all  support,  and  as  the  sequel 
will  show,  the  Commission  paved  the  way  for  the  rebellion 
of  the  Chinese,  and  for  the  outbreak  of  disaffected  Malays 
and  other  natives,  aided  and  incited  by  intriguing  Brunis, 
which  were  to  follow,  and  which  cost  the  lives  of  many 
Europeans,  and  great  numbers  of  Chinese  and  natives,  and 
nearly  resulted  in  the  extinction  of  the  raj.  With  justice  the 
Rajah  wrote :  "It  is  a  sad  thing  to  say,  but  true  as  sad, 
that  England  has  been  the  worst  opponent  of  the  progress 
of  Sarawak,  and  is  now  the  worst  enemy  of  her  liberty." 


THE    TUAN    MUDA'S    FORT    AT    SEKRANG. 


CHAPTER    V 

RENTAP 


ITH  this  chapter  com- 
mences   the   history 
of   the    life    of    the 
present  Rajah,  in  it- 
self an    epitome   of 
the  history  of  the  raj, 
who  in  1852,  at  the 
age     of    twenty-three, 
obtained     two     years' 
leave  of  absence  to  try 
his  fortunes  in  Borneo 
at  the  invitation  of  his 
Rajah.      He  arrived  at  Kuching 
on  July  21,  1852,  at  the  commencement 
of  a  new  era  in   the   history  of  Sarawak. 
Hitherto  the  raj  extended  only  as  far  as 
the  Samarahan  river,  and  within  this  little 
state  order  had  been  established  and  peace 
reiened.     Without,  it  had  been  freed  from 
its  enemies,  the  result  being  an  increasing 
trade  which   brought   prosperity.      But  the  Rajah  could  not 

153 


154  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

leave  incomplete  the  work  that  he  had  undertaken  and  begun, 
and  these  benefits  had  to  be  more  fully  extended  to  the  neigh- 
bouring districts,  which  were  shortly  to  be  added  to  the  raj. 
This  could  be  done  only  by  first  reducing  to  order  the 
turbulent  and  restless  Sea-Dayaks  and  Malays  who  inhabited 
these  districts.  Sarawak,  too,  had  now  been  left  to  fight  its 
own  battles  alone,  and  to  surmount  the  additional  troubles  that 
had  been  thrown  across  its  path  by  the  blind  and  weak  policy 
of  the  British  Government  that  should  have  been  its  protector. 
In  the  severe  trials  that  followed,  and  which  had  to  be  faced 
unhelped,  the  Rajah  found  that  assistance  which  he  so  much 
needed  in  the  able  and  devoted  support  of  his  nephews,  the 
Tuan  Besar,  and,  more  notably,  the  Tuan  Muda,  for  so  the 
present  Rajah  was  entitled  by  the  datus  on  his  arrival.1  On 
the  expiration  of  his  leave  the  Tuan  Muda  finally  quitted  the 
Navy,  and  Sarawak  became  the  scene  of  his  life-work  ;  he 
was  to  become  the  Rajah's  right-hand  man,  and,  a  few  years 
later,  his  trusted  deputy. 

Charles  Anthoni  Johnson,  the  Tuan  Muda,  was  the  second 
son  of  the  Rev.  Francis  Charles  Johnson,  and  was  born  on 
June  3,  1829,  at  Berrow  Vicarage,  near  Burnham,  Somerset- 
shire. Educated  in  Crewkerne  Grammar  School  for  a  few  years 
only,  he  was  withdrawn  at  the  age  of  a  little  over  twelve,  and 
entered  the  Navy  on  January  18,  1842,  as  a  volunteer  of 
the  first  class,  under  his  uncle,  Commander  Willes  Johnson  of 
the  sloop  Wolverine.  He  served  on  this  ship  until  June, 
1  844,  gaining  two  steps  as  midshipman  in  that  year,  when 
he  was  transferred  to  the  Dido,  Captain  the  Hon.  Henry 
Keppel.  He  rejoined  the  Wolverine,  serving  under  Com- 
mander John  Dalrymple  Hay,2  until  his  transfer  to  the 
Maander%  Captain  the  Hon.  H.  Keppel,  in  November,  1847, 
as  sub-lieutenant.  He  joined  the  St.  Vincent  in  1848,  and 
in  June  the  next  year  was  promoted  to  be  senior  mate  of  the 
Terrible.  He  became  lieutenant  in  1852.  He  served 
mostly  on  the  China  station  ;  and  the  only  active  service  he 
saw  was  with  Keppel's  expedition  and  Sir  Thomas  Cochrane's 
squadron  in  Borneo  waters,  as  we  have  already  recorded. 

1  This  is  now  the  established  title  of  the  second  sons  of  the  Rajahs. 
-  Now  the  Rigfll  Hon.  Sir  John  Dalrymple  Hay,  Bart.,   P  I  . 


RENTAP  155 

The  Tuan  Mudawas  appointed  to  Lundu  in  January,  1853, 
but  he  had  not  been  there  long  before  news  arrived  of  the 
death  of  Mr.  Lee,  the  Resident  at  Lingga.  The  circumstances 
were  these  :  Ever  since  the  severe  lesson  taught  the  Saribas 
and  Sekrangs  in  1 849,  the  piratical  tribes  had  been  divided  into 
two  parties  :  one  that  was  content  to  submit  to  the  Govern- 
ment of  Sarawak,  and  abandon  its  former  lawless  practices, 
and  the  other,  consisting  of  the  irreconcilables,  the  wild  and 
fiery  bloods,  who  loved  slaughter  and  rapine  above  everything, 
and  who  could  not  be  prevailed  upon  to  beat  their  spears  into 
ploughshares.  At  their  head  stood  a  peculiarly  daring  and 
turbulent  Dayak  chief  called  Rentap  ;  and  these  had  retreated 
farther  up  the  country  to  the  head-waters  of  the  Saribas. 
There  Rentap  had  established  a  strong  stockade  on  Sadok, 
a  mountain  ridge,  up  the  Sungei  (River)  Lang,  which  was 
regarded  as  an  impregnable  fastness,  for  access  could  not  be 
obtained  to  it  by  boat,  on  account  of  the  rapids,  and  the 
country  that  would  have  to  be  traversed  by  an  expedition 
was  covered  with  dense  jungles,  and  broken  up  by  rugged 
limestone  chains  of  hills. 

The  Sekrang  pirates  could  no  longer  shoot  down  to 
the  sea  in  their  war  prahus,  for  the  forts  of  Sekrang  and 
Lingga  commanded  the  river,  consequently  they  exerted  their 
mischievous  energies  in  attacking  the  peaceful  Dayaks  in  their 
districts,  and  they  were  especially  irate  against  those  of  their 
own  tribe  who  had  submitted  to  the  white  man's  rule. 

Sekrang  station  under  the  able  management  of  Mr. 
Brereton  had  made  great  advances,  and  around  the  fort  a 
Malay  town  had  sprung  up,  and  there  Chinese  traders  had 
also  established  themselves.  Mr.  Brereton  was  ably  sup- 
ported by  two  of  the  best  and  most  capable  Malay  chiefs, 
Pangiran  Matali,1  a  Bruni  of  rank,  and  Abang  Aing,'2  a  Matu 

1  Pangiran  Matali  (Muhammad  Ali)  was  a  brave  man,  honest  and  faithful.  He 
was  a  Government  chief  and  magistrate,  and  his  death,  a  few  years  ago,  was  felt  as 
a  severe  loss.  He  had  a  very  thorough  knowledge  of  the  Dayaks,  and  was  a  capable 
man  in  handling  them.  He  was  a  prince  by  birth  of  the  royal  blood  of  Bruni.  He 
stands  out  as  an  example  of  what  such  princes  were  capable  of  becoming  under  a  just 
government. 

-  Abang  Aing  was  the  head  Government  chief  and  native  magistrate  at  Sekrang, 
a  post  he  held  v. ith  distinction,  noted  for  his  fair  and  impartial  judgments,  till  his 
death,  which  took  place  in  December,  1884.  He  and  Pangiran  Matali  were  the 
present  Rajah's  main  supporters  and  most  trusted  servants  in  the  old  troublesome  days  ; 


156  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Melanau,  who  had  long  been  settled  in  the  Batang  Lupar 
with  his  father  the  Laksamana  Menudin,  and  who  had  the 
good  fortune  to  have  for  a  helpmate  an  upright  and  determined 
woman,  Dayang  Kota  ;  she  was  strong  in  council,  and  so 
trustworthy  that  when  Mr.  Brereton  and  the  chiefs  were 
away  she  was  often  left  in  charge  of  the  fort. 

The  fort  at  Lingga  had  been  built  in  1852  to  protect 
that  river  against  marauding  bands  of  Saribas,  and  had  been 
placed  in  charge  of  Mr.  Alan  Lee. 

Brereton  and  Lee  were  both  men  of  independent  means, 
who  had  joined  the  Rajah  to  assist  him  in  his  great  work, 
and  who  never  drew  a  penny  from  the  Sarawak  Government. 
The  former  was  hot  and  impetuous  ;  both  were  men  of  noble 
and  generous  natures. 

The  position  of  Mr.  Lee  at  Lingga  was  fairly  safe.  He 
had  been  for  a  short  time  coadjutor  with  Brereton  at 
Sekrang  ;  at  Lingga  he  had  plenty  of  Malays,  and  only 
friendly  Dayaks,  the  Balaus,  about  him.  But  Mr.  Brereton 
was  in  a  more  dangerous  position,  a  single  Englishman 
among  many  thousand  natives  but  partially  reclaimed  in 
hardly  five  years,  and  all  passionately  attached  to  their 
ancestral  custom  of  head-hunting.  It  is  true  he  had  about 
him  a  number  of  Malays,  and  on  an  emergency  might  call 
in  the  assistance  of  those  Dayaks  of  the  Sekrang  tribe  who 
professed  allegiance,  but  many  of  these  were  waverers, 
and  on  a  few  only  could  any  reliance  be  placed. 

Early  in  1853,  reports  reached  Brereton  that  Rentap,  at 
the  head  of  a  war  part}-,  was  on  his  way  down  the  river  to 
attack  his  fort,  and  force  an  opening  to  the  sea,  so  that 
again  he  might  pursue  his  piratical  expeditions  along  the 
coast  ;  and  Brereton  sent  a  message  to  Lee  at  Lingga  to 
come  to  his  assistance. 

The  request  was  at  once  complied  with,  and,  thinking 
the  case  urgent,  Lee  hurried  up  the  river  with  a  scratch  party, 
insufficiently  armed  ;  but  he  left  orders  that  a  large  force 
was  to  follow  with  all  possible  speed. 

On  reaching  Sekrang,  Lee  learned   that   the  force  under 

and  their  names  stand   foremost  amongst  those  Malay  chiefs  who  won  an  honourable 
n  the  annals  of  Sarawak  for  devotion  to  the  cause  of  law  and  order. 


RENTAP  157 

Rentap  was  approaching,  and  he  strongly  urged  Brereton  to 
stand  solely  on  the  defensive,  and  not  to  attack  the  enemy 
till  his  auxiliaries  had  arrived.  Brereton,  however,  had  built 
a  small  stockade  a  few  miles  above  Sekrang  fort,  and  to  this 
he  insisted  on  going,  and  was  accompanied  by  Lee.  On 
the  morning  after  reaching  it,  a  few  boats  of  the  Sekrang 
pirates  were  seen  descending  the  river  and  approaching  the 
stockade.  A  gun  was  fired  to  signal  them  to  desist,  but 
as  this  was  disregarded,  a  charge  of  grape  was  poured  into 
them,  throwing  them  apparently  into  confusion.  Unfor- 
tunately, the  Malays  in  the  fort  were  not  to  be  restrained, 
and  Brereton  was  for  at  once  dashing  forth  to  attack  the 
enemy  in  the  open  on  the  river.  Lee  saw  the  injudicious- 
ness  of  such  a  proceeding.  He  was  convinced  that  the  two 
prahus  had  been  sent  forward  tentatively,  and  that  the  main 
body  of  the  enemy  was  concealed  behind  the  point  of  land 
farther  up.  He  expostulated  with  Brereton,  who  taunted 
him  with  a  lack  of  courage,  and  then  left  the  fort  with  his 
Malays,  and  in  their  boats  they  ran  in  upon  the  main  fleet 
that  was  lurking  in  an  upper  reach,  and  which  now  swung 
down,  assisted  by  the  ebb-tide,  on  Brereton's  light  prahus. 

Lee,  nettled  at  the  taunt,  and  seeing  the  peril  in  which 
his  friend  and  fellow-officer  had  so  inconsiderately  placed 
himself,  at  once  left  the  fort  and  hastened  to  his  assistance. 

The  small  boats  in  which  were  the  Malay  garrison  were 
being  swamped  by  the  heavy  bangkongs  or  war  prahus  of 
the  Sekrangs  filled  with  armed  men.  Brereton's  boat  upset, 
and  with  difficulty  he  reached  the  bank.  Lee  refused  to 
retreat,  and  calling  out,  "  Save  yourselves,  I  must  stand," 
dashed  on.  His  boat  was  boarded  by  the  enemy ;  he 
fought  with  desperation,  but  was  overpowered  and  fell  into 
the  water  with  his  head  nearly  severed  from  his  shoulders. 
Meanwhile  the  force  of  the  current  had  carried  the  fleet 
under  the  guns  of  the  stockade,  and  these  opened  fire  upon 
it,  and  compelled  Rentap  reluctantly  to  withdraw  and 
abandon  his  undertaking.1  He  was  followed  up  and 
attacked   by  the  Sekrang  Dayak  chief  Gasing,  who,   acting 

1  S.  St.  John,  in  his  Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke,  says  that  Rentap  took  Lee's  head, 
but  this  was  not  the  case. 


158  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

on  His  own  initiative,  burnt  twenty  villages  belonging  to 
Rentap's  followers. 

When  the  news  of  this  disaster  reached  Kuching,  the 
Tuan  Muda  was  recalled  from  Lundu  and  ordered  to  replace 
Lee  at  Lingga,  and  he  arrived  there  in  June,  1853.  A 
stronger  fort  was  now  built  there,  and  the  Malays  living 
at  Banting  were  ordered  to  move  down.  He  was  succeeded 
at  Lundu  by  Mr.  Charles  Grant.1 

Lingga,  which  is  just  at  the  mouth  of  the  river  of  that 
name  that  flows  into  the  Batang  Lupar  about  sixteen  miles 
above  its  mouth,  is  seated  on  a  mud  bank  ;  the  land  for 
miles  around  is  a  dismal  swamp,  and  is  the  most  dreary 
station  in  the  State.  It  is,  however,  a  healthy  place,  and 
another  redeeming  point  is  the  fine  expanse  of  water  which 
forms  the  estuary  of  the  Bantag  Lupar,  stretching  from 
Lingga,  where  it  is  three  miles  broad,  straight  to  the  mouth. 

The  Dayak  population  of  the  Lingga  river  was  then 
about  5000,  all  Balaus,  whom  the  Tuan  Muda  found  to  be 
"  braver  than  most  Dayaks,  and  true-hearted."  From  the 
first,  they  and  the  Seboyaus,  a  relative  tribe,  residing  some 
at  Seboyau,  below  Lingga,  but  most  at  Lundu,  had  sided 
with  the  Rajah  against  their  direst  foes,  the  Saribas  ;  and 
these  pages  record  many  great  services  rendered  by  them. 
Besides  these  Dayaks  there  was  a  considerable  number  of 
Malays,  and  the  latter  increased,  for  Lingga  became  to 
them  a  place  of  refuge. 

Indra  Lila 2  had  been  the  chief  here  since  his  forced 
departure  from  the  Rejang  (see  footnote,  p.  16).  He  had 
died  a  few  months  before,  and  had  been  succeeded  by  his 
brother,  Lila  Pelawan,-  who  died  a  centenarian  in  1897. 
There  was  another  brother,  Lila  Wangsa,2  who  had  joined 
the  piratical  Saribas  Malays.  Lila  Pelawan  was  only  the 
nominal  chief  of  the  river,  for  it  was  really  ruled  by  two 
despotic  old  Malay  ladies  of  rank,  Dang  Isa  and  Dang  Ajar. 

1   Mr.  C.  Grant  of  Kilgraston,  X.B.,  was  a  midshipman  on  the  Maander  when 

that  ship  brought  the  Rajah  out  from  England.  He  became  the  Rajah's  private 
secretary  in  September,  1848.     He  retired  in  1863. 

-  mskrit  origin  bestowed  by  the  Sultan,  the  meanings  of  which 
are  somewhat  obscure.  The  first  probably  means  "the  revered  Lord  "  ;  the  third 
"high  in  eminence"  ;  as  regards  the  second,  Pelawan  may  mean  the  name  of  a 
place,  otherwise  it  is  untranslatable. 


RENTAP 


159 


These  sisters  claimed  all  the  land  as  their  inheritance,  and 
all  the  dwellers  thereon  as  their  slaves.  Though  they  were 
cruel  and  tyrannical  in  their  methods,  these  masterful  old 
ladies  had  the  redeeming  point  of  being  brave,  and,  attired 
in  men's  clothing,  with  sword  and  spear,  had  often  led  the 
men  in  resisting  the  attacks  of  the  Saribas.  Dang  Ajar  was 
the  most  troublesome.  It  was  she  with  whom  the  Kayan 
chief,  Akam  Nipa,  had  fallen  in  love,  and  a  pity  it  was  that 
his  threat  to  abduct  her  was  frustrated  by  the  flight  of  the 
Malays  from  Ngmah.  Though  professing  a  strong  regard 
for  the  Tuan  Muda,  whom  they  honoured  by  styling  him 
their  son,  they  feared  and  hated  him,  for  they  saw  that  he 
would  soon  deprive  them  of  all  power  to  do  evil,  and  to  pre- 
vent this  they  even  attempted  to  resort  to  poison.  This  was 
the  method  by  which  they  were  commonly  reputed  to  have 
removed  Indra  Lila  out  of  their  way,  as  they  would  certainly 
have  done  to  his  little  son,  so  as  to  acquire  his  inheritance, 
had  not  the  Tuan  Muda  taken  him  under  his  protection.  This 
lad  was  Abang  Abdul  Gani,  who  became  the  Tuan  Muda's 
constant  follower  for  years,  and  who  afterwards  gained  for 
himself  the  reputation  of  being  one  of  the  bravest  and  most 
honest  of  the  Government  Malay  officials. 

As  they  themselves  foresaw,  the  power  of  these  two  old 
ladies  was  soon  brought  to  an  end,  and  they  retired  into 
seclusion  to  solace  themselves  with  religion. 

In  August,  1853,  the  Rajah  went  to  Bruni,  where  he 
found  that  his  power  and  his  popularity  had  not  waned, 
though  discarded  by  the  British  Government,  and  discredited 
by  his  own  countrymen,  and  though  he  arrived  in  a  small 
merchant  ship  instead  of  in  one  of  her  Majesty's  men-of- 
war.  He  stayed  some  time  in  Bruni,  and  was  warmly 
received  by  the  new  Sultan,  Abdul  Mumin,  for  Omar  Ali  had 
departed  to  answer  for  his  sins,  "  and  was  fully  and  firmly 
reinstated  as  their  friend  and  adviser."  Those  districts  out- 
side Sarawak,  namely  the  Sadong,  Batang  Lupar,  Saribas, 
and  Kalaka  rivers  and  their  tributaries,  with  a  coast-line  of 
some  seventy-five  miles,  in  area  about  three  times  the  size 
of  the  raj,  were  now  incorporated  with  it  by  a  cession 
granted    by    the    Sultan,    the    Rajah    agreeing    to    pay    the 


160  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Sultan  half  of  any  surplus  revenues  that  might  accrue.  We 
ma)'  note  here  for  convenience  that  this  was  altered 
afterwards  in  1861,  when  the  territories  as  far  as  Kedurong 
point  were  ceded,  thereby  giving  the  State  a  further  coast- 
line of  1  80  miles,  and  the  rivers  Rejang,  Oya,  Muka,  Tatau, 
and  Bintulu.  For  this  additional  cession  and  that  of  1853 
a  fixed  yearly  sum  was  to  be  paid  to  the  Sultan  as  com- 
pensation for  loss  of  revenue  ;  and  these  cessions,  having 
been  made  subsequent  to  the  treaty  of  1847,  contain  a 
clause  to  the  effect  that  none  of  the  districts  ceded  by  them 
may  be  transferred  by  the  Rajah  or  his  successors  to  any 
other  government,  company  or,  persons  without  the  sanction 
of  the  British  Government,  but  the  Sultan's  sanction  is  not  re- 
quired. In  the  event  of  the  cession  money  not  being  paid  for 
three  consecutive  years,  the  districts  ceded  would  revert  to 
the  Sultan  ;  otherwise  the  sovereign  and  territorial  rights 
over  these  districts  are  absolutely  invested  in  the  Rajahs  of 
Sarawak,  the  Sultan  having  reserved  no  rights  or  power 
whatever  over  them.  The  cessions  subsequently  obtained 
by  the  present  Rajah,  which  will  be  noted  in  their  proper 
places,  were  granted  on  the  same  terms. 

In  December,  the  Rajah  arrived  at  Lingga  on  his  way 
to  Sekrang  and  farther  up  the  river,  with  the  object  of 
opening  up  communication  with  the  turbulent  members  of 
the  Dayak  tribes  in  the  interior,  under  Rentap  and  Bulan. 
These  chiefs  were  men  of  very  different  character,  and  headed 
native  bodies  of  like  diversity. 

Rentap  was  an  active,  crafty,  and  determined  man, 
rootedly  opposed  to  the  interference  of  Europeans  and  the 
putting  down  of  piracy  and  head-hunting.  On  the  other 
hand,  Bulan  was  the  figure-head  of  a  party  that  hesitated, 
uncertain  which  direction  affairs  would  take,  and  watching 
to  see  which  way  the  cat  jumped.  Bulan  and  his  faction 
would  not  engage  in  active  hostility  against  the  Rajah's 
government,  unless  they  saw  that  the  tide  of  affairs  was 
setting  strong  against  it.  But  also  they  would  not  profess 
friendship,  or  lend  help  against  the  turbulent  party. 

The  Tuan  Muda  attended  the  Rajah  to  Sekrang,  and 
several  meetings   were  contrived  with  the  leaders  of  the  two 


RENTAP  161 

factions,  but  with  no  satisfactory  results.  In  April,  1854, 
owing  to  the  representations  of  Mr.  Brereton,  an  expedition 
was  organised  against  a  chief  called  Apai 1  Dendang  at  Dandi, 
on  the  backbone  or  watershed  between  the  Saribas  and  the 
Sekrang  river,  a  hotbed  of  mischief,  whence  several  in- 
cursions had  been  made  into  the  pacified  country,  with  the 
usual  results  of  rapine  and  murder. 

The  Tuan  Muda  brought  up  a  contingent  from  Lingga, 
and  this,  united  with  a  force  from  Kuching,  proceeded  up 
the  Sekrang,  passing  troublesome  and  dangerous  rapids,  till 
the  point  Lipat  was  reached,  where  the  boats  had  to  be  left. 
The  backbone  of  hills  was  at  some  considerable  distance, 
and  to  reach  it  much  thorny  jungle  had  to  be  traversed. 
After  a  day's  march  inland  it  was  arranged  that  the 
Europeans  and  the  Sarawak  Malay  contingent  should  remain 
behind,  and  that  a  fighting  division  of  Dayaks  should  be 
sent  forward  under  their  chiefs  to  attack  Dandi,  which  con- 
sisted of  one  long  Dayak  house.  The  plan  adopted  was 
not  the  most  judicious,  and  the  result  was  disappointing. 
We  will  describe  what  followed  in  the  Tuan  Muda's  own 
words. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  of  the  third  day,  when  we  anxiously 
awaited  the  return  of  the  advanced  division,  our  outposts  first 
of  all  descried  two  or  three  small  parties  of  Dayaks  evidently  of  our 
force,  wending  their  way  slowly  over  hill  and  dale.  On  their 
nearer  approach,  we  plainly  saw  wounded  men  carried  by  them. 
Whispers  spread — gradually  and  quietly  at  first,  but  they  soon 
became  more  distinct — that  our  party  had  failed.  In  the  evening 
the  chiefs  arrived  and  came  forward  to  report  progress,  looking 
haggard,  thin,  and  exhausted.  The  story  was  as  follows — they  had 
walked  at  a  fast  pace  the  whole  of  the  first  day  over  the  steepest 
hills,  sometimes  without  any  path,  and  the  guides  at  a  nonplus  for 
the  proper  direction ;  from  morning  till  night  they  scarcely  halted, 
under  a  scorching  sun  ;  and  parched  with  thirst  without  any  hope 
of  water.  At  night,  by  moonlight,  they  pushed  on  again,  until  they 
nearly  fell  from  exhaustion,  when  they  slept  in  any  position  with 
their  arms  on.  About  3  a.m.  they  again  advanced,  and,  at  the 
opening  of  dawn,  the  most  active  Dayaks,  reaching  the  enemy's 
house,  advanced  upon  it  without  order,  and  as  the  leaders  were 
mounting  the  ladder,   they  were    struck  off  one  after  another   by 

1  Apai  =  the  father  of. 

M 


162  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

hundreds  of  men  inside,  dressed  in  fighting  costumes,  and  headed 
by  the  whole  of  the  Saribas  tribe,  men  heretofore  on  every  occasion 
on  land,  victorious.  Our  poor  leaders  had  to  retire  to  guard  their 
wounded  and  dying,  while  the  enemy  were  yelling,  cheering,  and 
beating  gongs  ;  and  even  their  women,  dressed  in  their  best  clothes, 
were  clapping  their  hands,  and  urging  their  sweethearts  to  the 
encounter. 

As  the  sun  rose,  some  of  the  strongest  of  the  Malay  force  came 
up  within  shot,  and  took  up  quarters  behind  trees  and  opened  fire 
upon  the  house.  This  stopped  the  cheering  within,  but  in  no  way 
daunted  the  enemy.  About  an  hour  after,  our  elderly  chiefs  came 
up,  viewed  the  house  of  the  enemy,  sat  down  on  the  hillside  in  a 
sheltered  position,  and  were  so  exhausted  that  children  might  have 
hacked  their  heads  off.  They  stopped  all  advance  of  their  party, 
and  while  the  oldest  chiefs  were  suffering  severely  from  fatigue,  a 
palaver  was  opened,  the  result  being  that  some  of  the  enemy  came 
down,  mixed  with  our  people,  then  partook  of  sirih  and  betel-nut  in 
a  friendly  manner,  and  promised  to  show  our  party  the  nearest 
way  back,  and  provide  them  with  provisions  for  their  journey.  On 
their  part  they  engaged  to  be  answerable  for  the  payment  of  a 
"  death  fine  "  for  the  men  they  had  killed  some  months  previously. 

News  that  a  large  expedition  had  been  organised  against 
Dandi  had  reached  Apai  Dendang  before  the  departure  of 
the  force  from  Sekrang,  and  he  had  summoned  to  his 
assistance  all  the  bravest  men  of  the  Saribas  tribe,  and  the 
principal  leaders  of  every  head-hunting  expedition  for  some 
time  past ;  nevertheless  he  was  unwilling  to  drive  matters 
to  an  extremity,  having  a  wholesome  dread  of  the  white 
men.  This  rendered  him  ready  to  treat  and  buy  off  the 
expedition  with  a  promise  of  indemnity  for  murders  recently 
committed. 

A  fatal  want  of  discretion  had  been  shown  in  the  whole 
affair,  no  trustworthy  guides  had  been  engaged,  no  inquiry 
made  as  to  whether  the  Saribas  were  coming  up  to  the 
succour  of  Apai  Dendang,  no  English  leaders  were  sent  for- 
ward with  the  rabble  of  assailants,  and  that  rabble  had 
attacked  in  straggling  detachments,  when  exhausted  with 
hard  marching  and  with  thirst. 

We  returned  home  with  feelings  that  can  be  better  imagined 
than  described.  The  Dayaks  said  that  the  omens  had  been  bad 
from   the   outset  :    the   Malays  said   if  they  had   only  been    there, 


RENTAP  163 

the  result   would  have  been  different ;  and  the  Europeans  said — 
nothing. 

In  August,  1854,  the  Rajah  arrived  at  Lingga  with  a 
large  force  which  had  been  collected  at  Kuching,  and  pro- 
ceeded to  Sekrang,  taking  with  him  the  Tuan  Muda ; 
The  Tuan  Besar,  together  with  other  European  officers,  who 
had  come  with  the  Rajah,  also  lent  their  aid.  The  object 
was  to  attack  Rentap  in  his  fastness  in  Sungei  Lang.  The 
whole  force  numbered  7000  Malays  and  Dayaks.  To  pre- 
vent the  Saribas  from  sending  their  fighting  men  to  the 
assistance  of  Rentap,  the  Datu  Temanggong  was  despatched 
with  a  flotilla  up  that  river  to  menace  their  villages  and  to 
hold  the  Saribas  warriors  in  check.  Mr.  Steele 1  was  to 
lead  another  party  up  the  Kanowit  to  threaten  the  Dayaks 
of  that  river  and  its  branches  the  Kajulau  and  Entabai, 
with  a  rear  attack  should  they  cross  over  to  the  Saribas. 
Mr.  Steele  had  been  thrice  attacked  at  Kanowit  fort,  but 
now  he  could  muster  fifteen  hundred  men  and  take  the 
offensive,  and,  though  possibly  he  would  have  to  do  no  fight- 
ing, his  force  would  deter  the  Kajulaus  from  sending  aid  to 
Rentap.      The  expedition  was  thoroughly  well  thought  out. 

The  Rajah,  with  the  main  body,  leaving  the  Sekrang 
fort,  ascended  the  river  for  about  thirty  miles  to  a  place 
called  Entaban.  The  heavy  prahus  were  brought  thus  far 
with  great  difficulty,  owing  to  the  rapids,  and  beyond  that 
point  it  was  impossible  to  proceed  in  them.  Accordingly 
a  stockade  was  erected,  and  the  Tuan  Besar  was  placed  in 
command  of  the  expedition  by  land  to  Sungei  Lang,  with  his 
brother,  the  Tuan  Muda,  Mr.  Crookshank,  Mr.  Brereton,  and 
four  other  English  officers  to  assist.  The  Rajah's  health 
would  not  admit  of  his  undertaking  the  arduous  march.  He 
remained  behind  with  a  strong  force  to  protect  the  flotilla. 

Although  the  heavy  war  boats  could  ascend  no  farther, 
it  was  possible  for  part  of  the  force  to  continue  the  ascent 
of  the  river  in  light  boats,  and  this  was  done,  the  Europeans 
and  Malays  marching. 

1  As  in  the  case  of  Mr.  Lee,  little  has  been  recorded  of  Mr.  H.  Steele.  He  did 
good  service  at  the  battle  of  Beting  Maru,  and  probably  joined  in  1848.  He  was 
selected  by  the  Rajah  to  take  charge  of  the  fort  at  Kanowit  when  it  was  built,  and 
there  he  was  murdered  in  1859.      He  was  a  noted  linguist. 


1 64  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

To  continue  the  narrative  from  the  Tuan  Muda's 
description  : — 

We  had  Dayak  guides,  and  could  not  have  proceeded  without 
them.  Our  land  force  consisted  mostly  of  Malays,  and  numbered 
about  500  men — the  Sekrang  Dayaks  were  in  their  boats.  About 
4  p.m.  we  halted  on  the  brink  of  the  river  and  prepared  to  spend 
the  night  with  a  stockade  around.  This  was  in  the  enemy's  country, 
although  there  were  many  people  living  near  who  were  neither  the 
one  thing  nor  the  other.  The  following  morning  we  proceeded  again 
in  the  same  order,  but  before  midday  many  of  our  party  were  quite 
exhausted,  and  there  was  really  no  road  to  follow  but  the  muddy 
banks  of  the  river,  so  we  halted,  and  after  our  midday  meal  it  was 
decided  that  we  were  all  to  crowd  in  with  the  floating  force.  And 
thus  we  pushed  on,  but  in  a  most  comfortless  condition  with  regard 
to  space.  We  spent  the  night  at  Tabbat,  and  fortified  ourselves 
here  also.  My  subsequent  experience  of  the  localities  has  proved 
that  we  should  never  have  reached  our  destination  on  foot,  keeping 
company  with  the  boats.  On  the  fourth  day  we  spied  the  enemy's 
position,  situated  on  a  hill  cleared  of  all  old  jungle  and  showing 
recent  preparations  of  defence  around  their  dwellings.  Our  heavy 
armament  consisted  of  4-  and  3-pounder  guns  and  rocket  tubes. 

The  enemy  showed  no  opposition  outside,  and  after  marching 
about  four  miles,  we  arrived  at  a  hill  in  their  vicinity.  It  was  a  fiery 
hot  morning  without  a  cloud,  and  the  hills,  though  low,  were 
very  precipitous.  The  Europeans  kept  near  the  guns,  to  assist  in 
their  progress  up  the  steeps,  and  when  we  were  mounting  the  last 
rising  ground  on  which  the  enemy  was  fortified,  we  found  some  of 
the  leaders  of  our  force  had  foolishly  advanced  too  near,  and  a  few 
had  been  killed  and  wounded,  and  were  now  being  carried  to  the 
rear.  The  enemy  had  two  long  houses  on  the  ridge  of  a  hill, 
surrounded  by  steep  ground  excepting  at  the  end.  Here  high  stakes 
were  driven  into  the  earth,  and  around  all  a  firm  and  thick  stockade. 
The  4-pounder  gun  was  mounted  after  considerable  delay,  and, 
when  the  rocket  tube  was  in  place,  we  opened  fire  on  one  end, 
while  the  3-pounder  played  away  on  the  other.  The  enemy 
answered  our  fire  pretty  briskly  with  their  lelahs.1  We  could  see 
the  men  rushing  to  and  fro  covered  with  their  shields,  also  parties 
dancing  to  the  music  of  the  gongs.  Some  of  their  voices  we  heard 
distinctly,  saying  they  would  never  succumb  to  the  tight-breeched 
men  (white  men)  or  to  any  other  strangers.  Mr.  Crookshank  (at 
considerable  risk)  took  charge  of  the  rockets,  which  were  of  ancient 
make,  and  a  few  that  were  fired  entered  the  fort  and  did  great 
execution,  but  the  majority  whizzed  round  and  round  and  sometimes 

1    Hrass  cannon  of  Malay  manufacture. 


RENTAP  165 

lodged  in  the  ground  among  our  own  party ;  we  were  all  more 
afraid  of  these  missiles  than  anything  the  enemy  could  produce. 
Early  in  the  afternoon  there  was  a  commotion  among  the  enemy, 
and  we  could  discern  women  and  children  leaving  on  the  opposite 
side  of  the  hill,  but  the  men  stood  fast  and  kept  their  posts. 

Our  old  Penglima x  was  biding  his  time,  for  he  yet  knew  that 
he  might  lead,  but  others  would  not  follow.  He  worked  steadily 
and  quietly,  amid  many  jeers  from  some  of  our  own  native  party, 
who  asked  why  the  warrior  did  not  make  an  advance  :  his  reply 
between  his  teeth  was — "Your  words  are  more  than  your  deeds." 
As  the  sun  drew  near  to  the  horizon,  the  Penglima  moved  up  to  the 
enemy's  stockade,  silently  opened  the  palisade,  and,  after  a  moment's 
peep,  jumped  in,  followed  by  others,  who  gave  a  loud  cheer  and 
drew  their  swords.  The  enemy,  finding  a  lodgment  had  been 
made  inside,  immediately  took  to  their  heels  and  fled  down  the  hill. 
We  followed  in  close  to  the  leaders ;  the  entrance  was  so  narrow 
that  many  received  contusions  when  passing  through.  About  fifty 
or  sixty  of  the  enemy  were  tearing  away  over  the  open  ground,  cover- 
ing their  bodies  with  their  shields. 

These  were  followed  by  all  the  defenders  of  the  stockade, 
who  rolled  down  the  side  of  the  hill,  a  living  wave,  bearing 
away  with  them  their  chief  Rentap,  who  had  been  wounded. 
The  stockade  was  taken,  and  within  its  defences  the  victors 
passed  the  night,  whilst  the  enemy  fled  precipitately  to  a 
second  and  still  stronger  fastness  on  the  summit  of  the 
mountain  Sadok,  which  loomed  in  the  distance.  One  of  the 
most  curious  and  significant  features  of  the  conflict  was  that, 
whilst  it  was  in  progress,  the  hills  and  every  commanding 
position  around  were  crowded  with  Dayaks,  the  adherents 
of  Bulan,  as  well  as  others,  who  watched  it  with  lively 
interest,  taking  no  part  on  one  side  or  the  other,  but  waiting 
to  see  to  which  side  the  scale  would  incline.  Had  the  attack- 
ing force  met  with  discomfiture,  these  men  would  have  fallen 
on  it  and  harassed  the  party  as  it  retreated. 

If,  after  the  defeat  of  Rentap  and  the  capture  of  the 
stockade  in  the  Lang,  they  did  not  tender  allegiance  to  the 
Government,  it  was  because  the  expedition  retired  immedi- 
ately after  having  achieved  its  first  success,  and,  therefore,  it 

1  Seman  was  a  Kalaka  Malay  living  in  Kuching,  and  had  been  made  a  penglima 
by  the  Rajah  for  his  courage  and  dash.  His  name  still  survives  in  Kampong  Penglima 
Sernan — the  village,  or  parish,  of  Penglima  Seman,  within  the  township  of  Kuching. 


1 66  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

gave  the  waverers  no  permanent  assurance  of  protection 
against  Rentap's  resentment. 

To  have  crushed  Rentap,  it  would  have  been  necessary 
to  have  pursued  him  to  his  second  stronghold  at  Sadok,  but 
this  was  not  done.  Captain  Brooke  in  command  doubtless 
saw  the  expediency  of  following  up  a  routed  foe,  but  Dayak 
warriors  are  wont  to  rest  content  with  a  single  victory,  and, 
that  gained,  to  become  uncontrollably  impatient  to  return 
home  ;  besides,  the  force  was  in  too  disturbed  a  state  to 
undertake  any  organised  attack  ;  accordingly,  after  making 
a  circuit  of  devastation,  it  returned. 

The  result  was  that  Rentap  continued  to  give  trouble 
for  seven  years. 

Brereton  died  of  dysentery,  brought  on  by  exposure, 
shortly  after  this  expedition,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  was  placed 
in  charge  of  the  Batang  Lupar  in  October,  1854.  The 
district  was  in  a  very  disturbed  state,  and  to  establish  order 
by  putting  an  end  to  intertribal  feuds  and  promiscuous  head- 
hunting required  an  unceasing  watch  being  kept  on  all,  and 
necessitated  many  punitive  expeditions  being  made.  The 
Tuan  Muda  had  but  a  handful  of  fortmen,  for  there  was  no 
money  to  spend ;  not  more  than  .£30  per  mensem  being 
allowed  even  so  late  as  1  860  for  the  upkeep  of  the  district, 
and  it  must  have  been  less  then.  Little  support  could  be 
expected  from  the  capital.  On  the  Kajulau  expedition  the 
Tuan  Muda  could  muster  no  more  than  100  antiquated 
muskets  and  a  few  rifles,  which  included  twelve  flint  and  six 
percussion  muskets,  all  that  could  be  spared  from  Kuching. 
There  was  much  to  be  done,  but  there  was  deficiency  of 
means  to  do  the  work.  The  Rajah's  advice  to  him  was  : 
"to  encourage  the  good,  intimidate  the  bad,  and  confirm  the 
wavering."  The  difficulties  were  so  many,  and  the  means  at 
hand  so  limited,  that  the  position  would  have  been  hopeless 
except  to  a  man  of  great  tact,  patience,  daring,  and  untiring 
activity,  able  to  bear  all  the  responsibility,  all  the  anxiety, 
and  all  the  work  upon  his  own  shoulders.  It  must  be  borne 
in  mind  that  Kuching  was  some  125  miles  away,  that  those 
were  the  days  when  there  were  no  steamers,  and  that  during 
the  north-cast  monsoon   navigation  was  dangerous  to  boats. 


RENTAP  167 

How  the  Tuan  Muda  succeeded  will  be  told  in  this  record 
of  his  career  ;  here  it  will  be  sufficient  to  say,  quoting  the 
late  Rajah,  "  that  he  was  the  right  man  in  the  right  place, 
and  that  we  are  all  children  in  Dayak  management  compared 
to  him." 

In    1856,    the    Tuan    Muda   writes    (in     Ten     Years    in 
Sarawak)  : — 

We  are  almost  daily  having  alarms  in  one  place  or  another ; 
sometimes  on  water  and  sometimes  on  land.  And  upon  one  side 
of  the  whole  length  of  the  river,  the  inhabitants  dare  not  farm  or 
live,  fearing  attacks  from  the  interior  of  Sekrang  and  Saribas.  Small 
parties  make  their  foraging  excursions  and  run  away  with  a  head 
here  and  there,  and  are  far  distant  before  we  can  follow  them  up. 

Intertribal  feuds,  which  had  been  more  or  less  dropped  in 
the  common  cause  of  piracy — and  the  plethora  of  heads  it 
afforded — had  now  broken  out  again,  and  were  growing  in 
intensity.  Besides  these  troubles  in  the  Batang  Lupar  and 
Saribas,  the  Dayaks  of  the  Rejang  living  on  the  Serikei  and 
Kajulau  rivers  were  giving  considerable  trouble.  These 
Dayaks  had  moved  over  from  the  Sekrang  and  Saribas  and 
were  hand-in-glove  with  Rentap's  rebels.  They  were  open 
and  declared  enemies  of  the  Government.  The  Kajulau  was 
considered  to  be  the  centre  of  the  enemy's  country,  and  also 
to  be  inaccessible  to  attack.  Confident  in  their  impunity, 
they  were  becoming  a  terror  to  the  peaceable  inhabitants 
of  the  Rejang  delta,  so  the  Tuan  Muda  determined  to  attack 
them,  and  organised  an  expedition  —  the  first  to  act  in- 
dependently of  Kuching  assistance,  except  for  the  loan  of 
the  dozen  old  muskets  above  mentioned. 

On  June  6,  1856,  the  force,  comprising  a  few  Malays, 
and  some  3000  Dayaks,  started.  To  take  the  enemy  by 
surprise  the  Tuan  Muda  decided  to  go  up  the  Kalaka  and 
march  overland.  Though  the  Malays  of  this  river  had 
suffered  severely  at  the  hands  of  the  Kajulaus,  they  at  first 
refused  to  accompany  the  expedition,  regarding  the  diffi- 
culties as  insuperable,  and  the  danger  as  overwhelming. 
The  result  was  that  half  the  Malay  force  the  Tuan  Muda  had 
brought  with  him  were  intimidated,  and  began  to  cry  off; 
but  Abang   Aing   restored  their  confidence,  and  shamed  the 


1 63  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Kalakas  into  accompanying  the  expedition.      On  the   14th, 
after    having    encountered    great    difficulties    in    passing   the 
rapids,  the  force  reached  the  Budu  stream,  and  here  the  boats 
were  left,  but  as  there  were  enemies  ahead   and  enemies  to 
the  right  (the  Saribas)  a  strong  stockade   was  erected  and 
garrisoned,  to  serve  as  a  base  and  to  guard  the  rear.      Near 
this  base  were  two  long  Dayak  houses,  and  in  one  of  them 
was  staying   a  notorious   Saribas  Dayak   chief  named  Saji. 
As  the  people  were  not  declared  enemies,  though  very  doubtful 
friends,  Saji  could  not  be  touched,  but  he  remained  a  danger 
to    be    reckoned    with,  and    against  whom  precautions  had 
to  be  taken,  for  as  soon  as   the   expedition  started  overland 
he  would  be  able  to  follow  it  with  hundreds  of  men.      But 
Saji  was  cautious.      He  preferred  to  wait  to  make  his  attack 
till  the  return  of  the  expedition,  when  it  would  be  easier  to 
surprise,  for,  if  not  defeated,  it  would  probably  be  disorganised. 
The  march  commenced  on   the  16th.      The   bala  formed  in 
three  columns  with  the  Malays  in  the  centre,  and  at  evening 
the  tawaks  (gongs)  of  the  enemy  could  be  heard  in  the  distance 
sounding  the  alarm.      But  it  was   not  until  the  18th,  after  a 
tedious  march  over  hilly  land,  that  the  verge  of  the  enemy's 
country  was   reached.      At    3    P.M.   a  sharp  encounter    took 
place,  and  the  enemy  were  driven  off,  leaving  a  few  dead  on 
the  field,  and  several  long  houses  that  had  been  abandoned  in 
haste  were  entered  and  plundered.      One  of  these  houses  the 
Tuan  Muda  occupied  ;  and,  finding  that  the  enemy,  taken  by 
surprise,  attempted  no  attack  and  offered  no  organised  resist- 
ance, the   force  was  divided   up  and  despatched  in  different 
directions  under  their  own  leaders  to  burn  and  destroy. 

Here  an  episode  occurred  which  nearly  proved 
disastrous.  On  the  afternoon  of  the  19th,  an  attack  was 
expected,  and  the  house  occupied  by  the  Tuan  Muda  was 
greatly  crowded  with  warriors  to  defend  it.  At  7  o'clock 
it  was  observed  that  the  posts  supporting  the  house  were 
sloping  considerably,  and  it  was  found  that  this  had  been 
caused  by  the  Dayaks  having  stowed  away  in  it  overmuch 
of  their  heavy  plunder,  such  as  brass  guns,  jars,  and 
gongs,  and  hundreds  had  gone  up  into  the  house,  though 
by  custom   they  ought  to    have    remained    without  on  the 


RENTAP  169 

ground.  A  collapse  would  have  meant  the  loss  of  many 
lives,  and  would  have  been  taken  advantage  of  by  the 
watchful  enemy.  Upon  the  insistance  of  Abang  Aing,  the 
Tuan  Muda  left  the  house,  and  the  Malays  were  directed  to 
turn  the  Dayaks  out  instantly.  But  this  was  by  no  means 
easy  to  be  done  ;  indeed  the  Dayaks  resisted  being  made  to 
evacuate  the  house  and  leave  their  plunder  there. 

Whilst  the  Tuan  Muda  was  sitting  out  in  the  moonlight, 
a  sudden  din  and  the  sounds  of  strife  arose  from  the  house. 
Men  came  flying  down  the  ladder,  and  others  hurried  up  it. 
Then  three  Balau  Dayak  chiefs  begged  the  Tuan  Muda  to  go 
up  immediately.  Against  the  protests  of  Abang  Aing,  with 
sword  and  gun  in  hand,  he  ascended,  and  found  Dayaks  and 
Malays  in  a  heated  and  dangerous  condition,  opposed  to 
one  another  with  drawn  swords  in  their  hands.  Planting 
himself  between  the  antagonists,  the  Tuan  Muda  ordered 
silence,  and  cocking  his  double-barrelled  gun  and  placing  the 
muzzle  within  two  inches  of  the  leading  Dayak's  head,  he 
ordered  him  to  leave  the  house.  Amidst  a  dead  silence  the 
chief  went,  followed  by  the  Tuan  Muda,  the  Dayaks  edging 
away  and  making  a  path  for  them  along  the  verandah  to  the 
ladder.  Thus  ended  the  disturbance,  and  by  the  morrow 
it  was  forgotten.  It  was  arrested  just  in  time  to  prevent  a 
desperate  encounter  between  the  Malays  and  Dayaks,  which 
would  have  been  taken  up  by  the  other  Dayak  factions — for 
in  the  bala  were  Dayaks  of  different  tribes,  only  held 
together  by  the  controlling  influence  of  their  white  chief — and 
there  would  have  been  fighting  among  themselves.  The 
enemy,  taking  advantage  of  this,  would  have  fallen  upon 
and  routed  them,  and  the  survivors  flying  to  regain  the 
boats  would  have  been  cut  off  by  Saji  and  his  Saribas. 
The  power  of  the  Government  among  the  Sea-Dayaks 
would  have  been  broken  completely,  and  it  would  have  taken 
many  years  to  recover  it,  a  calamity  which  was  averted  by 
the  bold  and  prompt  action  of  the  Tuan  Muda,  and  his 
personal  power  over  Malays  and  Dayaks  alike. 

On  the  20th,  the  attacking  parties  returned  after  having 
destroyed  twenty -five  villages,  and  having  secured  an 
immense   amount   of   plunder.       There  were   but   few  killed 


I/O  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

on    either    side  ;  the    enemy    had    given    way,    cowed,  and 
had  offered  but  little  resistance. 

Thus  was  a  severe  lesson  administered  to  the  Sea-Dayaks, 
which  they  never  forgot,  and  it  showed  them  that  they  could 
and  would  be  treated  even  as  they  had  so  long  treated 
others  with  impunity. 

"There  is  no  way,"  wrote  the  Tuan  Muda,  "but  burning  them 
out  of  house  and  home — dreadful  as  this  may  appear.  The  women 
too  must  suffer,  for  they  are  the  principal  inciters  of  these  bloody 
exploits.1  An  attack  on  a  Dayak  force,  the  destruction  of  the  whole 
of  it,  with  the  lives  of  the  men,  is  no  permanent  advancement 
towards  cessation  of  head-taking.  But  the  burning  down  of  a  village, 
loss  of  goods,  old  relics,  such  as  heads,  arms,  and  jars,'2  and  putting 
the  inhabitants,  male  and  female,  to  excessive  inconvenience — all 
this  fills  them  with  fear  and  makes  them  think  of  the  consequences 
of  taking  the  heads  of  strangers.  These  inland  abodes  have  been 
and  are  everlasting  fastnesses  in  their  imagination.  Besides,  they 
always  express  very  freely  their  opinion  of  white  men  ;  '  they  are 
powerful,  having  arms  and  ships  at  sea,  but  it  is  only  we  Dayaks 
who  can  walk  and  fight  on  land  and  clamber  steep  mountains.' " 

On  the  2  ist,  the  march  home  was  commenced,  the 
leaders  in  the  advance  becoming  now  the  rearmost.  These 
were  the  most  trusted  and  bravest  chiefs  ;  conspicuous  among 
them  was  Pangiran  Matali.  Their  instructions  were  positive 
— to  keep  a  sharp  look-out  for  the  enemy,  and  to  permit  no 
one  to  lag  behind.  Most  of  the  Dayaks  were  heavily  laden 
with  plunder,  and  the  enemy  was  hovering  about  their  track 
in  the  hope  of  cutting  off  the  stragglers. 

On  the  return  to  the  stockade  : 

A  delicious  bathe,  and  some  wine  and  water  were  the  first  things 
to  have.  Then  a  lounge  in  the  boat  in  thin  clothing,  with  that 
exhilarating  feeling  of  lightness  which  one  experiences  after  a 
Turkish  bath.  During  my  enjoyment  in  the  satisfaction  that  our 
trials  were  well-nigh  over,  a  rush  was  heard  with  tumultuous  yells, 
and  armed  people  were  dashing  back  over  the  path  by  which  we  had 

1  The  brutal  and  disgusting  behaviour  of  the  women  on  the  arrival  of  a  fresh 
"  trophy,"  to  one  who  has  witnessed  it,  would  choke  oft  any  pity  for  them. 

-  These  articles  and  other  valuables,  though  a  bitter  loss,  can  be  replaced.  Hut 
the  destruction  of  their  homes,  rice-stores  and  standing  crops,  household  goods, 
cooking  utensils  and  clothing,  pigs,  poultry,  and  hunting  dogs,  boats  and  paddles,  and 
farming  implements  are  losses  that  it  takes  two  years  to  regain,  and  which  reduces 
them  for  the  time  to  a  condition  of  beggary. 


RENTAP  171 

come.  I  soon  learnt  that  "  Iron  Anchor  "  x  and  Pangiran  Matali  had 
been  attacked  in  the  rear,  and  within  five  minutes  two  Dayaks 
rushed  to  my  boat  carrying  a  head  yet  gory  and  dripping.  The 
yells  and  cheers  were  deafening,  and  it  was  some  time  before  I  could 
get  the  particulars  of  what  had  happened.  After  the  noise  had 
somewhat  subsided  "Iron  Anchor"  and  the  Pangiran  came  to  me 
and  told  me  that  as  they  were  marching  and  bringing  up  the  rear, 
about  three  miles  off,  a  party  of  Dayaks  came  down  the  hill  close  to 
them.  The  Pangiran  hailed  and  asked  them  who  they  were ;  the 
answer  was,  ':  We  are  of  one  bala  (force)."  Our  party  hailed  again 
and  then  fired.  Two  of  the  strangers  fell  dead,  the  others  took  to 
flight.  On  Sandom  2  following  them  up,  he  saw  Saji  with  a  large 
party  fully  armed  for  the  purpose  of  making  an  onslaught  on  our 
rear.  The  Pangiran  fortunately  could  recognize  the  Dayak  tribes, 
and  well  knew  their  craft  and  different  costumes.  Our  party  escaped 
unhurt,  and  Saji,  who  had,  I  subsequently  was  told,  vaunted  that  he 
would  get  forty  of  our  heads,  mine  amongst  the  number,  ran  for  his 
life,  leaving  two  dead  behind  him. 

In  February,  1857,  the  Tuan  Muda  received  the  startling 
news  that  the  Chinese  had  risen  and  fallen  upon  Kuching. 
He  was  told  that  the  Rajah  had  been  killed,  along  with  Mr. 
Crookshank  and  many  other  Europeans.  Before  ten  minutes 
had  passed,  Sekrang  fort  was  crowded  with  armed  men 
breathing  vengeance,  and  within  an  hour,  boats  had  been 
launched  and  the  Tuan  Muda  with  Abang  Aing  had  started. 
Below  Lingga  next  morning  they  met  the  vessel  bearing  the 
English  refugees  —  the  Bishop,  his  family,  and  others,  and 
from  them  the  Tuan  Muda  learnt  the  glad  tidings  of  the 
Rajah's  safety.  Knowing  that  his  force  would  be  sufficient 
to  crush  the  rebels  and  re-establish  the  Rajah's  rule,  he 
pushed  on  with  his  mind  now  more  at  ease.  He  arrived 
at  Kuching  to  find  the  town  in  ruins,  but  the  Rajah  in 
charge  again  on  board  the  Borneo  Company's  steamer  Sir 
James  Brooke.  As  a  full  account  of  the  insurrection  and  of 
the  subsequent  events  will  be  found  in  the  following  chapter, 
we  will  now  return  to  the  subject  of  this  one  to  preserve 
a  continuous  record  of  the  events  that  led  to  the  down- 
fall of  Rentap. 

1  Sauh  Besi,  a  powerfully  built  Malay. 

2  Sandom  was  the  guide.  He  was  a  plucky  Sekrang  Dayak,  and  thirsted  for 
Rentap's  blood  in  revenge  for  the  murder  of  his  brother,  who  had  been  put  to  a  cruel 
death  by  Rentap. 


172  A    HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

On  the  afternoon  of  the  Tuan  Muda's  return  from 
Kuching,  after  an  arduous  time  driving  the  Chinese  rebels 
over  the  border,  he  received  information  that  the  notorious 
Saji  was  out  with  a  head-hunting  party  along  the  coast. 
Prompt  action  was  necessary,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  by  sunset 
had  started  in  his  war-boat,  leaving  Abang  Aing  and  the 
Malays  to  follow.  Whilst  waiting  inside  the  mouth  of  the 
Ludam,  a  little  stream  half-way  between  the  mouths  of  the 
Batang  Lupar  and  Saribas,  for  his  Malay  and  Dayak 
contingents,  a  boat  dashed  past  towards  the  Saribas.  This 
the  Tuan  Muda  subsequently  learnt  was  Saji,  who  off  Lingga 
had  fallen  in  with  a  small  boat  containing  a  man,  his  wife, 
and  their  daughter.  Feigning  friendliness  Saji  approached, 
and  when  near  enough  attacked  the  little  party.  The  man 
escaped  by  taking  to  the  water,  his  wife  was  cut  down  and 
her  head  taken,  and  the  girl  was  captured.  When  passing 
the  Ludam  Saji  had  noticed  the  Tuan  Muda's  boat-flag  over 
the  bank,  the  tide  being  high,  and  he  sat  with  his  drawn 
sword  across  the  girl's  throat  prepared  to  take  her  life 
immediately  if  she  attempted  to  call  out,  or  should  any 
notice  be  taken  of  them.  On  being  joined  by  the  Malays  and 
the  Balau  Dayaks  the  coast  was  patrolled,  and  the  Saribas  was 
searched  for  some  way  up,  but  the  head-hunters  had  retired. 

Sadok,  Rentap's  stronghold,  was  regarded  by  the  Dayaks 
as  impregnable.  Since  the  destruction  of  the  stockaded 
village  at  Sungei  Lang,  he  had  strengthened  his  position  there. 
In  legend  and  song  the  Dayaks  represented  this  place  as  a 
mountain  so  inaccessible,  and  so  protected  by  magic,  that  no 
enemy  would  ever  dare  to  assail  it.  Rentap  had  gathered 
about  him  all  the  disaffected  Sekrang  Dayaks  and  some  of 
the  Saribas  of  the  interior,  who  offered  him  aid  so  long  as 
he  occupied  this  eyrie,  which  stood  as  an  unapproachable 
nucleus  and  basis  far  removed  from  danger,  and  to  which 
they  might  all  retire  in  case  of  need  from  the  rule  of  the 
white  man,  that  thwarted  their  head-hunting  and  marauding 
propensities.  Rentap  was  entitled  the  Inland  Rajah,  and 
was  the  centre  of  all  opposition  to  the  rule  of  the  Rajah  of 
Sarawak.  His  fortification  was  near  5 ooo  feet  above  the 
sea,  with  precipitous  approaches  on  almost  every  side. 


RENTAP  173 

The  Tuan  Muda  had  obtained  permission  to  undertake 
another  expedition  against  this  stronghold.  His  intention 
was  to  pass  over  the  mountain,  lay  waste  the  country  at  the 
head  of  the  Saribas,  and,  after  so  cutting  off  Rentap's  supplies 
and  reinforcements,  to  attempt  the  chief's  position  on  his 
return. 

In  the  Saribas,  which  was  still  a  hornet's  nest,  affairs 
were  coming  to  a  head.  The  Dayaks  were  about  to  retire 
into  the  interior  with  the  Datu  Patinggi  of  Saribas,  who, 
together  with  the  Laksamana,  was  encouraging  the  Dayaks 
to  continue  in  their  evil  courses.  But  for  the  Malays,  and 
even  amongst  them  there  were  many  inclined  to  a  life  of 
peace,  though  these  were  in  a  minority,  the  Dayaks  of  the 
lower  Saribas  would  have  submitted  to  the  Government,  and 
amongst  the  latter  the  Rajah  could  now  count  many  adherents ; 
but  the  power  of  the  evilly  disposed  Malay  chiefs,  headed  by 
the  Patinggi,  and  of  the  Dayak  chiefs,  headed  by  Rentap, 
was  dominant  in  the  Saribas.  To  check  them  the  Rajah 
took  a  large  force  to  that  river,  and  went  at  the  time  that 
the  Tuan  Muda  was  starting  on  his  expedition,  so  as  to  dis- 
guise the  object  of  the  latter's  preparations,  by  leading  the 
people  to  suppose  that  his  intention  was  to  support  the 
Rajah  ;  and  to  be  at  hand  to  attack  the  Saribas  Dayaks 
in  rear  should  they  muster  in  force  to  assist  Rentap. 
The  Tuan  Besar  at  the  same  time  went  to  the  Rejang, 
to  hold  the  Dayaks  of  that  river  in  check. 

The  Tuan  Muda  took  no  Europeans  with  him,  fearing 
that  the  fatigue  of  the  difficult  overland  march  might  knock 
them  up,  and  cause  them  to  become  encumbrances  ;  his 
force  consisted  of  3500  Dayaks,  and  500  Malays,  all  willing 
volunteers,  though  many  conceived  the  task  to  be  beyond 
their  powers  ;  but  where  he  went  they  were  ready  to  follow, 
confident  that  under  his  direction  they  would  be  well  led. 

The  expedition  started  on  June  2,  1857,  a  little  over 
three  months  after  the  Chinese  insurrection,  and  left  Sekrang 
in  drizzling  rain  ;  throughout  it  encountered  miserable 
weather,  which  damped  the  ardour  of  the  force.  The 
Malays  especially  cannot  endure  wet,  a  few  days'  exposure 
brings    on    fever    and    ague,   and    the    cold,  to    which    the 


174  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Dayak.s  would  be  exposed  on  the  mountain,  was  likely  to  so 
numb  them  as  to  render  them  useless. 

Old  Sandom  was  once  more  the  guide.  He  had  his 
personal  wrong  to  avenge,  as  we  have  already  stated.  "  Iron 
Anchor  "  and  Pangiran  Matali  were  again  the  leaders. 

On  June  5,  the  boats  were  drawn  up  at  Sungei 
Antu,  on  a  little  island  of  rubble  and  brushwood,  upon 
which  a  stockade  was  erected,  and  where  the  flotilla  was 
to  be  left.  Forty  men,  well  armed,  were  deputed  to 
take  charge  of  the  boats  and  baggage  in  this  extemporised 
fort,  whilst  the  rest  moved  overland  in  the  direction  of 
the  mountain.  On  the  7th  of  June,  a  height,  the  bold 
ridge  on  which  the  enemy  had  established  himself, 
came  in  sight,  with  a  succession  of  hills  intervening  like  a 
chopping  sea  turned  to  rock.  It  was  resolved  to  push  on 
that  day  to  Rapu,  the  northern  termination  of  the  mountain, 
and  there  to  establish  a  stockade  from  which  parties  might 
descend  and  devastate  the  country  of  the  hostile  Saribas,  on 
which  Rentap  had  to  depend  for  supplies.  But  it  was  not 
found  possible  to  do  in  one  day  what  was  determined.  The 
mountain  was  indeed  reached,  but  ascended  only  by  some  of 
the  advance  party  of  Dayaks,  who  could  not  be  restrained, 
and  who  scrambled  up  the  side  to  the  summit  of  the  hogs- 
back,  to  be  driven  back  with  great  loss,  not  of  lives  only,  but 
of  confidence  and  courage  as  well.  The  bulk  of  the  force 
was  constrained  to  bivouac  in  rain  and  cold  on  the  mountain 
flank. 

The  last  hundred  yards  were  almost  perpendicular,  and  when 
mounting  I  had  to  pull  myself  up  with  one  hand  by  the  stunted 
trees ;  added  to  this,  there  was  a  declivity  of  thousands  of  feet  on 
each  side.  In  ascending  this  part  not  more  than  twenty  men 
were  with  me.  My  best  fort-man  was  wounded  by  a  spear,  and  to 
assist  him  many  of  the  others  had  left  me.  And  now  I  must  give 
credit  to  the  Lingga  people,  for  they  were  close  at  hand.  I  was 
within  about  five  yards  of  the  enemy,  who  were  pitching  spears  from 
behind  some  wood  on  the  brow  of  the  hill,  while  we  were  under- 
neath, and  the  spears  went  flying  over  my  head  and  struck  some  of 
our  party  in  the  rear.  Here  I  stood  propped  up  against  a  tree,  and 
poured  thirty  rounds  from  my  smooth  bore  as  fast  as  I  could  load. 
After  this  I  tried  to  ascend,  but  the  Linggas  literally  collared  me. 


RENTAP  175 

The  enemy  were  quieted,  so  here  we  sat  on  the  side  of  this  hill,  at 
an  angle  of  8o°,  the  whole  night.  A  few  cross  sticks  were  placed 
for  me  to  sit  on.      One  man  held  a  shield  at  my  back. 

When  morning  broke  the  Tuan  Muda  and  his  followers 
succeeded  in  reaching  the  summit  of  the  mountain,  and 
could  look  along  the  brow  to  the  opposite  end,  where  stood 
the  stronghold  of  the  redoubtable  Rentap,  to  which  the 
enemy  had  retired.  Several  of  the  attacking  force  had  been 
killed  or  wounded  on  the  previous  day,  and  over  a  hundred 
had  rolled  down  the  steep  sides,  and  in  so  doing  lost  arms 
and  ammunition. 

The  "  Iron  Anchor "  maintained  his  position  manfully, 
and  well  merited  his  name. 

On  that  day,  June  8,  the  force  proceeded  to  stockade 
the  position  gained  at  the  Rapu  end  of  the  mountain,  con- 
fronting that  occupied  by  the  fortress  of  Rentap,  which  was 
not  above  four  hundred  yards  off.  This  latter  was  a  formid- 
able stockade  of  iron-wood,  impervious  to  rifle  shots,  with 
precipices  to  the  right  and  left ;  and  the  stockade  was  com- 
manded by  the  high -placed  houses  inside,  from  which 
volleys  could  be  poured  on  an  attacking  army,  that  must 
advance  in  a  narrow  file  along  the  backbone  of  rock  leading 
to  it.  Indeed,  to  assail  the  fort  from  the  northern  extremity- 
seemed  doomed  to  failure,  the  few  men  leading  could 
be  picked  off  and  would  roll  down  the  declivities  on 
this  side  or  that,  or  encumber  the  path  by  which  those 
behind  were  pressing  on,  and  expose  them  also  to  be  shot 
down,  for  the  enemy  possessed  muskets,  cannon,  and  also 
a  swivel  captured  when  Lee  was  killed. 

During  the  eight  days  they  remained  on  the  hill  it  rained 
incessantly,  and  the  force  suffered  severely  from  cold,  finding 
little  shelter  in  their  leaking  huts,  the  earth  floors  of  which 
were  soon  converted  into  pools  of  mire.  On  the  9th,  think- 
ing that  the  force  in  advancing  towards  Rentap's  fortification, 
had  left  its  rear  unguarded,  a  body  of  the  enemy  that  had 
marched  to  Rentap's  assistance  made  an  attack  on  the 
camp,  but  they  soon  found  out  their  mistake,  and  were  easily 
beaten  off.  The  next  day  a  division  of  Dayaks  and  Malays 
proceeded   against  Rentap's  allies,  whom   they  drove  back, 


176  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

and  whose  houses  they  plundered  and  burnt.  On  the 
following  days  other  parties  were  sent  out  to  do  the  enemy 
as  much  harm  as  possible,  and  to  deter  them  from  joining 
Rentap's  party  in  the  stockade,  or  harassing  the  main 
assailing  force.  In  the  meantime  the  Tuan  Muda  had 
attempted  to  get  his  men  to  storm  the  fortress  at  night, 
promising  to  lead  the  way  himself ;  but  they  would  not  face 
the  risk,  though  later  on  they  consented  to  attack  the  place 
in  force.  Three  days  were  spent  in  constructing  portable 
screens  of  laths  and  bamboos,  under  the  cover  of  which 
parties  could  progress  along  the  dangerous  ridge  and  make 
an  attempt  to  set  fire  to  the  stockade.  At  mid-day  on  the 
15th  the  attack  commenced. 

I  took  up  my  position  with  a  rifle,  and  watched  for  movements 
among  the  enemy,  but  the  active  work  I  left  to  Aing,  who,  drawn 
sword  in  hand,  superintended  with  much  activity.  The  sounds 
were  deafening,  and  the  fellows  carried  the  wood  and  materials 
under  the  fire  of  Rentap's  guns.  At  4  p.m.  my  party  had  attained 
to  within  six  or  seven  yards  from  the  outer  fort,  and  the  scene  was 
truly  exciting.  Our  enemies  evidently  were  not  numerous.  They 
threw  stones  from  the  inside  which  fell  on  the  heads  of  our  fellows, 
and  used  muskets,  together  with  a  swivel.  At  half-past  five  our 
leader,  crouching  under  the  moving  stockade,  called  for  fire,  and  the 
wood  collected  was  in  considerable  quantities.  At  this  juncture 
Aing  fell,  wounded  by  a  musket  shot.  Then  evening  set  in,  and 
we  were  obliged  to  return  to  our  quarters.  The  enemy  yelled  in 
triumph  at  our  departure. 

The  wood  collected  had  been  so  saturated  with  rain  that  it 
refused  to  kindle. 

A^  I  lay  down  to  rest  at  night,  I  gave  up  all  thought  of  gain- 
ing Rentap's  fortress,  but  resolved  to  see  what  could  be  done  else- 
where. When  I  rose  the  last  morning,  the  enemy  was  yelling,  and 
my  first  desire  was  to  get  about  a  hundred  of  the  strongest  young 
fellows  together,  command  myself,  and  proceed  to  Atui,  where 
there  were  three  long  houses  of  enemies,  about  six  hours'  walk  dis- 
tant. This  I  promised  to  do  in  three  days,  when  I  would  return 
here  and  march  back  with  the  whole  force.  I  could  obtain  no 
volunteers  :  some  said  they  were  sick,  others  out  of  provisions,  and 
I  was  obliged  to  bow  to  circumstances,  and  at  eight  o'clock  our 
party  began  to  descend  the  mountain. 


RENT'AP  177 

The  retreat  was  conducted  without  serious  molestation 
by  the  enemy,  but,  on  reaching  Antu,  it  was  found  that 
owing  to  the  rain  a  freshet  had  come  down,  the  river  rising 
twelve  feet,  and  had  swept  the  stockade  away  and  carried 
off  over  seventy  of  the  boats.  The  discouragement  was 
great,  and  the  return  down  the  river  was  not  effected  without 
some  annoyance  from  the  enemy,  who  hid  in  the  jungle  and 
fired  on  the  party  as,  in  overcrowded  boats,  it  descended  the 
Sekrang.      None  were  thus  killed,  but  some  were  drowned. 

Thus  ended  the  first  expedition  against  Sadok.  It  had 
done  something,  though  no  serious  damage,  but  it  exalted  the 
confidence  of  Rentap  in  the  impregnability  of  his  stronghold. 
Practically  it  had  been  a  failure,  and  so  it  was  felt  to  be 
among  Malays  and  Dayaks  generally.  The  unrest  in  the 
country  became  more  accentuated,  and  the  daring  of  the 
Saribas  increased. 

In  April,  1858,  the  Tuan  Muda  says  : 

I  had  for  many  months  been  tormented  by  the  affairs  in  Saribas, 
which  had  been  for  generations  the  hotbed  of  head-hunters  and 
piracy  in  every  shape.  The  people  were  becoming  more  audacious, 
and  I  found  it  had  been  to  no  purpose  holding  communication  with 
even  the  Malays,  who,  a  few  days  ago,  refused  to  receive  a  letter, 
and  declared  they  intended  shortly  to  ascend  the  river  and  live  with 
the  Dayaks,  and  eat  pork  as  they  did.  It  was  evident  that  a  crisis 
was  approaching  which  would  require  resolute  action,  or  our  prestige 
would  be  injured  in  this  quarter.  This  we  could  by  no  means 
afford  to  lose,  as  stoppage  of  all  trade  and  communication  on  the 
coast  would  inevitably  ensue. 

A  fleet  of  forty  Saribas  pirates'  vessels  was  known  to  be 
ready  to  descend  the  river  for  a  foray  on  the  coast  under  Saji 
and  another  notorious  Dayak  chief,  Lintong ; x  and  was 
only  detained  till  the  boat  of  the  former  was  ready  at  Paku, 
forty   miles   from   the    mouth.      No   time   was   to   be   lost   to 

1  His  nom  de guerre,  or  ensumbar  in  Dayak,  was  Mua-ari,  literally  the  Face  of 
the  Day.  He  was  sometimes  foe  and  sometimes  friend,  and  will  be  mentioned  again. 
The  ensumbar  is  frequently,  not  always,  given  to  or  adopted  by  warriors  who  have  in 
some  way  or  another  gained  renown.  Some  writers  have  confused  it  with  thej'uloi, 
or  nickname,  which  refers  to  some  bodily  defect  or  peculiarity,  and  with  names  given 
to  children  at  birth,  such  as  Tedong,  the  cobra  ;  Bulan,  the  moon  ;  Matahari,  the 
sun  ;  Besi,  iron.  Malays  are  sometimes  given  a  nom  de  guerre,  such  as  Sauh  Besi, 
above  mentioned,  and  Sherip  Sahap  was  known  as  Bujang  Brani,  the  Brave  Bachelor, 
which  is  also  a  Dayak  ensumbar;  others  are  the  White  Hawk,  the  Hovering  Hawk, 
the  Torrent  of  Blood,  etc.      The  totem  is  unknown  amongst  the  Sea-Dayaks. 

N 


i;S  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

prevent  this  force  from  reaching  the  sea,  and  the  Tuan 
Muda  sent  to  Kuching  for  aid.  Meantime  he  manned 
his  big  boat  with  sixty  men,  and  a  3-pounder  was  placed  in 
her  bows.  Thus  equipped,  he  sped  to  Lingga,  where  he 
fortunately  found  the  small  gunboat  schooner,  the  Jolly 
Bachelor,  commanded  by  John  Channon.1  He  now  started 
up  the  Saribas  river  with  a  picked  crew,  and  with  numerous 
native  boats  following.  The  flotilla  advanced  as  far  as  the 
mouth  of  the  Padi  river,  on  which  was  the  village  of  Saji. 
Here  they  anchored,  and  a  6-pounder  gun  was  pointed  up 
the  Saribas  in  case  the  enemy's  forty  war-boats  should  come 
down.  Thence  a  party  was  detailed  inland  to  attack  Saji 
and  his  pestilent  horde.  This  was  done.  The  enemy  was 
driven  back  with  loss,  and  their  houses  destroyed.  A  more 
dreaded  enemy  than  the  Saribas  now  assailed  the  expedition, 
and  that  was  cholera.  In  consternation  the  force  began  to 
break  up  and  return  home.  The  Tuan  Muda  resolved  on 
constructing  a  fort  and  establishing  a  government  on  the 
river,  and  for  that  purpose  retired  down  to  Betong,  a  site 
he  had  selected  as  most  suitable  for  a  station. 

Whilst  engaged  in  collecting  materials  for  the  fort,  the 
reinforcements  from  Kuching  arrived  under  the  charge 
of  young  Mr.  J.  B.  Cruickshank,2  but  too  late  to  be  of  any 
use.  The  cholera  prevented  any  further  action  being  taken  ; 
but  the  time  was  usefully  spent  in  completing  the  fort. 
Leaving  Cruickshank  in  charge,  the  Tuan  Muda  returned  to 
Sekrang,  and  while  there  heard  that  the  Saribas  were  again 
in  motion  for  a  coast  raid,  their  destination  being  unknown. 

This  was  led  by  the  redoubtable  Linggir  again.  The  Tuan 
Muda  at  once  sent  orders  for  the  Balau  Dayaks  to  muster 
and  intercept  the  force.  The  order  was  promptly  carried 
out,  and  Linggir's  bala  was  defeated  with  a  loss  of  fourteen 

1  John  Channon,  a  merchant  seaman,  served  the  Government  for  many  years. 
Of  him  the  Tuan  Muda  wrote  in  1859  :  "John  had  teen  my  companion  for  many 
dreary  months  in  the  hot  cabin  of  his  vessel.  He  had  charge  of  the  Jolly  for  years, 
and  many  a  creek  and  dangerous  cranny  had  she  become  acquainted  with  in  our 
expeditions.  His  valuable  services,  as  well  as  steady  and  brave  conduct,  both  on 
board  and  in  the  jungles,  cannot  be  too  highly  praised  in  the  annals  of  Sarawak." 

2  James  Brooke  ( 'ruickshank,  a  godson  of  the  Rajah.  He  joined  in  February,  1856, 
when  about  fifteen  years  of  age  ;  and  at  this  time  was  stationed  in  the  Sadong. 
He  served  for  many  years  in  the  Dayak  countries;  and  ultimately  became  Resident 
of  the  3rd  Division.      He  retired  in  1875,  and  died   in  1894. 


RENTAP  179 

men,  Linggir  himself  having  another  very  narrow  escape. 
But  other  parties  were  out,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  himself  set 
forth  for  the  Saribas  to  intercept  some  of  these  marauders. 
Here  he  was  joined  by  Mr.  Watson  x  on  his  way  to  take 
charge  of  the  new  fort — a  welcome  addition  for  the 
reinforcement  of  that  establishment. 

The  Tuan  Muda  warned  the  Malay  villagers  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Saribas,  who  were  restless  and  desirous  of  encouraging 
the  pirates,  that  they  would  be  held  responsible  should  any 
pirate  boats  be  suffered  to  pass,  and  then  returned  to  Sekrang 
to  hasten  preparations  for  an  ascent  of  the  Saribas  river 
with  a  large  body  of  men  to  chastise  the  turbulent  natives 
who,  led  by  Saji,  had  attacked  Betong  fort  on  July  14,  1858, 
and  to  press  on  and  again  try  conclusions  with  Rentap. 

After  some  delay  the  Kuching  force  started,  and  reached 
the  rendezvous  at  the  mouth  of  the  Saribas  river,  but  the 
Tuan  Muda  had  been  delayed,  waiting  for  his  Dayaks,  and  it 
proceeded  to  Betong.  The  leading  division  was  a  force  from 
Kuching  under  the  Tuan  Besar,  who  commanded  this  ex- 
pedition. It  passed  on  several  days  before  the  Tuan  Muda 
with  the  main  force  arrived  at  Betong  fort,  but  was  soon 
overtaken.  The  river  was  found  to  have  been  purposely 
obstructed.  Large  trees  standing  low  on  the  banks  had 
been  felled  so  as  to  fall  across,  and,  where  narrow,  block  the 
stream.  And  this  had  been  done  for  several  miles.  They 
were  not  formed  into  a  boom,  but  left  to  lie  where  they  fell. 
This  is  a  favourite  plan  of  the  Dayaks  for  hindering  the 
progress  of  an  enemy  up  stream.  Moreover,  by  cutting 
trees  inclining  to  the  river  nearly  through  to  the  breaking 
point,  and  then  sustaining  them  by  means  of  rattans,  they 
can  in  a  moment  sever  these  strings  and  let  the  trees  fall 
on  and  crush  the  leading  boats.  Some  thirty-five  years  ago, 
a  Dutch  gunboat  whilst  steaming  up  the  Kapuas  river  was 
sunk  in  this  manner,  and  her  crew  slaughtered. 

Notwithstanding  the  obstructions,  the  flotilla  advanced, 
and  the  enemy  retired  up  stream.  During  five  days'  hard 
rowing,  it  progressed  till  it  reached  Pengirit,  just  below  the 
Langit  river,  and  here  the  vanguard   fell   in  with  the  enemy 

1  Mr.  W.  C.  Watson  joined  October,  1857,  and  resigned  in  1869. 


1 So  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

under  Saji.  Saji  gallantly  attacked,  and  met  the  fate 
he  so  richly  deserved.  "  Saji's  name  and  acts  had  been  in 
my  ears  for  years  past,"  wrote  the  Tuan  Muda.  "Many  a 
blood}-  deed  had  been  perpetrated,  and  he  always  had 
boasted  that  the  White  Men's  powder  and  shot  would  take 
no  effect  on  his  body."  So  fell  one  of  the  most  cruel  and 
treacherous  head-hunters  of  those  days. 

At  the  mouth  of  the  Langit  river  a  stockade  was 
erected.  Here  on  a  clear  night  the  moon  was  eclipsed. 
The  Tuan  Muda  had  seen  by  his  almanack  that  this  would 
occur,  and  had  announced  to  the  host  that  it  would  take 
place.  If  this  had  not  been  done  a  panic  would  have 
ensued,  and  the  natives  would  have  insisted  on  leaving  ;  but 
as  it  was,  they  conceived  that  the  phenomenon  had  been 
ordered  by  the  white  chief,  to  strike  terror  into  the  hearts  of 
their  foes,  as  also  to  encourage  them  ;  they  were  accordingly 
in  good  heart  to  advance. 

They  pushed  on  readily  enough  to  Xanga  Tiga,1  the 
junction  of  three  rivers,  one  flowing  from  Sadok,  one  from 
the  watershed  where  rises  the  Kanowit  river,  and  the  third 
the  main  Saribas.  Here  the  boats  were  to  be  left,  and  a 
stout  stockade  was  erected.  Thence  preparations  were 
made  to  advance  up-country  towards  the  Rejang.  The 
Tuan  Muda,  with  whom  went  Cruickshank,  was  in  command 
and  led  the  van.  Messrs.  Steele  and  Fox 2  were  to  take 
charge  of  the  rear  division.  The  whole  party  comprised 
200  Malays  and  2000  Dayaks. 

From  Nanga  Tiga  this  party  made  for  the  head-waters 
of  the  Kajulau,  to  lay  waste  the  territory  of  the  troublesome 
natives  there.  It  may  seem,  and  it  does  seem  at  first  sight, 
and  to  such  as  are  not  acquainted  with  native  warfare,  a 
barbarous  process  to  burn  villages  and  destroy  the  padi-fields 
with  the  crops  on  which  the  natives  subsist.  But,  as  already 
said,  it  is  the  only  way  in  which  these  savages  can  be  brought 
to  submission.  The  women  indeed  suffer,  but  then  they  are 
the  principal  instigators  of  all  the  attacks  on  inoffensive 
tribes.      They  rather  than  the  men  were  greedy  after  heads, 

1  Nanga  =  the  mouth  of  a  river  in  Sea-Dayalt  ;   tiga  =  three. 

2  Mr.  C.  Fox  came  to  Sarawak  from   India  in  1851,  as  master  of  the  Mission 
School  ;   he  shortly  afterw  .irds  joined  the  Rajah. 


RENTAP  1S1 

and  scoff  at  their  husbands  or  sweethearts  as  milksops  if  they 
remain  at  home,  and  do  not  go  forth  to  massacre  and  plunder. 
In  fact,  the  destruction  of  their  homes  strikes  the  women  to 
the  heart,  and  turns  them  into  advocates  of  peace.  Among 
the  Dayaks  the  women  are  a  predominant  power.  The 
Dayaks  are  as  woman-ridden  and  as  henpecked  as  are  English- 
men. Moreover,  the  destruction  of  native  buildings  is  a  more 
merciful  proceeding  than  the  slaying  of  a  number  of  men  in 
battle. 

After  the  return  of  this  ravaging  party,  which  had  done  a 
circuit  of  thirty  miles,  a  day  was  given  to  rest,  and  then 
the  main  body  prepared  to  march  to  Sadok  ;  and  this  time 
the  expedition  was  furnished  with  a  mortar  that  was  ex- 
pected to  bring  down  Rentap's  fortification.  It  was  a  six- 
pounder  and  only  a  few  inches  long,  and  was  carried  by 
Dayaks  slung  in  a  network  of  rattans. 

Without  opposition  the  host  approached  the  fort  of 
Sadok. 

We  met  with  no  obstacles  in  mounting  to  the  summit,  which  we 
reached  at  a  little  past  ten  in  the  morning.  Rentap's  party  were  within 
his  wooden  walls,  and  not  a  living  being  could  be  seen.  Our  force  set 
to  collect  wood,  and  within  an  hour  a  small  stockade  was  erected,  in 
which  our  mortar  was  arranged  ;  it  was  mounted  within  easy  firing 
distance  of  the  enemy's  fortress,  and,  under  the  superintendence  of 
Mr.  John  Channon,  the  firing  commenced.  The  shells  were  thrown 
with  great  precision,  often  lodging  under  the  roof  of  the  enemy's  fort ; 
at  other  times  bursting  over  it,  and  more  than  once,  we  heard  them 
burst  in  the  middle  inside.  Not  a  word  was  spoken  by  them,  and 
some  were  under  the  impression  that  the  place  was  deserted,  when 
the  tapping  of  the  old  gong  would  recommence  as  blithe  as  ever. 
Fifty  rounds  of  shell  were  fired,  besides  hollow  ones  with  full  charges 
of  powder,  all  of  which  appeared  to  take  no  more  effect  than  if  we 
were  pitching  pebbles  at  them.  None  of  our  party  yet  dared  venture 
too  near,  but  some  of  the  most  energetic  pushed  on  to  another 
stockade,  within  a  few  fathoms  of  the  fort,  when  the  enemy  commenced 
firing,  but  the  shot  did  not  penetrate  the  wood.  Our  young  Dayaks 
advanced,  and  two  were  immediately  knocked  over  and  others 
wounded.  Other  parties  also  advanced,  and  an  active  scene  ensued  ; 
some  reached  the  planking  of  the  fortress,  sheltering  their  heads  with 
their  shields,  showers  of  stones  were  thrown  from  the  inside,  and 
spears  were  jabbed  from  a  platform  above.  There  was  such  a 
commotion  for  a  few  minutes,   that  I  made  certain  our  party  were 


1 82  A    HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

effecting  an  entrance,  and,  for  the  purpose  of  supporting  them,  I 
rushed  out  of  our  stockade,  followed  by  a  few,  but  had  not  passed 
on  over  more  than  four  or  five  feet,  before  the  enemy  fired  grape, 
wounding  a  fine  young  Dayak  behind  me,  whom  I  had  just  time 
enough  to  save  from  falling  down  the  precipice  by  seizing  him  by  the 
hair,  and  passing  him  on  to  others  behind  the  stockade.  My  brother 
and  I  advanced  a  few  steps,  but  found  our  following  was  too  inadequate 
for  storming,  and  many  were  already  retreating.  Volleys  of  stones 
were  flying  round  our  heads,  and  as  we  retired  again  behind  the 
stockade  another  charge  of  grape  poured  into  the  wood  now  at  our 
backs.  The  chiefs  had  congregated  to  beg  us  to  desist  from  making 
any  further  advance,  and  I  must  admit  that  we  only  risked  our  lives 
needlessly.  The  natives  wisely  observed,  "  We  cannot  pull  these 
planks  down  with  our  hands,  we  cannot  climb  over  them,  and  our 
arms  make  no  impression  on  the  enemy." 

It  was  therefore  resolved  to  abandon  the  attack.  The 
retreat  was  begun  at  once,  Rentap's  followers  shouting  after 
the  party  the  mocking  words,  '  Bring  all  your  fireguns  from 
England,  we  are  not  afraid  of  you, '  and  discharging  shot 
and  spears  and  poisoned  arrows.  The  enemy,  yelling  in 
triumph,  threatened  the  assailants  as  they  retired  down  the 
hill,  but  kept  at  a  decent  distance  or  hid  behind  cover  for 
fear  of  the  firearms. 

Thus  ended  the  second  attempt  on  Sadok,  again  a  failure. 
The  mortar  had  not  answered  its  purpose,  nothing  but  a 
cannon  could  effect  a  breach  in  the  solid  palisading  of  the 
fortress.  This  venture  was  made  in  1858,  and  no  further 
attack  on  Sadok  was  attempted  till  1861.  There  were  other 
grave  matters  to  engage  the  attention  of  the  Rajah  and  his 
nephews,  and  although  the  upper  Saribas  were  continuously 
troublesome,  and  had  to  be  checked  and  reprisals  made  for 
their  onslaughts  on  the  peaceable  Dayaks,  for  three  years 
no  attempt  could  be  undertaken  to  dislodge  Rentap. 

But  in  1 86 1,  it  was  resolved  finally  to  assault  and 
humble  him.  Meanwhile  a  good  many  of  Rentap's  followers 
had  deserted  him,  and  he, was  no  longer  popular.  His  violence 
and  wilfulness  had  alienated  many,  and  more  had  come  to 
see  that  under  the  Sarawak  Government  the  Dayaks  who 
submitted  were  contented  and  flourishing.  He  had  more- 
over offended  their  prejudices.      He  had  descended  from  his 


RENTAP  183 

eyrie,  carried  off  a  girl,  discarded  his  old  wife,  and  elevated 
the  young  one  to  be  Ranee  of  Sadok.  This  was  a  grave 
violation  of  Dayak  custom,  and  was  resented  accordingly. 

On  September  16,  1861,  an  expedition  under  the 
command  of  the  Tuan  Muda  was  ready  to  start  up  the 
Saribas  river  to  dislodge  Rentap.  According  to  the  received 
axiom,  a  third  time  is  luck)',  and  on  this  occasion  success 
was  achieved. 

The  new  expedition  was  to  be  better  furnished  than  had 
been  those  which  preceded  it,  and  was  to  take  with  it 
rockets,  a  12-pounder  gun,  and  a  6-pounder  ;  a  working 
party  of  twenty  Chinamen  to  make  roads  and  throw  up 
earthworks,  a  force  of  Sidi  boys  or  negroes,  daring  fellows, 
ready  to  storm  the  stockade,  and  numerous  Malays  and 
Dayaks.  On  October  20,  the  expedition  reached  Nanga 
Tiga,  the  old  position  in  1858,  and  there  once  more  the 
boats  were  left,  a  stockade  erected,  and  the  6-pounder 
mounted  in  it.  The  land  party  then  advanced  over 
the  same  ground  as  before,  the  guides  leading  the  way, 
followed  by  the  Chinese  and  the  Sidi  boys  ;  the  Europeans 
being  placed  in  the  centre.  Rain  came  down  in  torrents,  as 
on  the  former  occasion,  and  a  difficulty  ensued  in  getting 
the  Chinamen  to  keep  the  powder  dry. 

On  the  25  th,  the  foot  of  Sadok  was  reached,  whereupon 
two  chiefs,  the  brothers  Loyoh  and  Nanang,  came  in  and  made 
their  submission,  but  this  was  accepted  only  after  the  pay- 
ment of  a  fine  of  forty  rusa  jars  worth  ^400,  which  were  to 
be  retained  for  three  years,  and  then  returned  to  the  tribe, 
or  their  chiefs,  should  they  remain  loyal  ;  and  eventually 
they  were  restored.  Rentap  got  wind  of  this,  and  sent  out 
a  party  who  set  fire  to  Nanang's  house,  which  was  close  to 
his  on  Sadok. 

The  gun  was  slung  on  a  long  pole,  and  sixty  men  were 
detailed  to  convey  it  up  the  mountain,  but  this  could  be 
effected  by  the  means  of  ropes  alone.  No  opposition  was 
offered  by  Rentap,  although  four  hours  were  consumed  in 
transporting  the  gun  to  the  summit.  At  4.30  A.M.  of  the 
28th,  it  was  in  position,  but  as  a  dense  mist  had  rolled  down 
enveloping  the   mountain   top,  nothing  could   be   done   with 


184 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


the  gun  till  7.30,  when  the  mist  had  cleared  away  ;  and  then 
such  a  raging  wind  was  blowing,  that  the  rockets  could  not 
be  used.  The  gun  was  discharged,  but,  after  the  seventeenth 
round,  the  carriage  gave  way  ;  however,  it  had  effected  the 
purpose  for  which  it  had  been  brought  up,  by  tearing  gaps 
in  the  stockade  of  Rentap's  fortress,  and  now,  under  cover  of 
a  volley  of  musketry,  the  storming  party  rushed  over  the 
neck  of  rock,  and  dashed  in  at  the  gaps  that  had  been  made. 
They  found  the  fortress  deserted  by  all  but  the  dead  and 
dying.  Rentap,  perceiving  that  it  was  no  longer  tenable, 
had  fled  with  his  men  down  the  opposite  end  of  the  mountain. 
In  the  fortress  were  found  the  arms  captured  when  he  fought 
with  Brereton  and  Lee,  in  1853,  and  a  large  quantity  of 
ammunition,  which  had  been  supplied  by  Sherip  Masahor  ; 
also,  amongst  others,  a  brass  cannon  taken  from  a  gun-boat 
belonging  to  the  Sultan  of  Pontianak  that  had  been  captured 
by  Rentap  in  1837  off  Mempawa,  in  sight  of  her  consort,  a 
Dutch  gun-boat.  In  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day,  fuel 
was  heaped  about  the  stockade  and  long  houses  ;  a  gun  was 
fired,  and  in  ten  minutes  a  column  of  fire  mounted  and  was 
carried  in  blazing  streamers  before  the  wind.  As  the  darkness 
settled  down,  the  summit  of  Sadok  was  glowing  and  shooting 
up  tongues  of  flame  like  a  volcano,  visible  for  miles  around, 
and  proclaiming  unmistakably  the  end  of  Rentap's  domina- 
tion as  Rajah  of  the  interior. 

Rentap  will  not  be  noticed  again.  Broken,  and  deserted 
by  all,  he  retired  to  the  Entabai  branch  of  the  Kanowit, 
where  he  died  some  years  later. 


ON     Till      WAK-PATH 


government  station,  bau  (Gray's  ridge). 


CHAPTER    VI 


THE    CHINESE    REBELLION,    AND    SECRET    SOCIETIES 


'E  must  take  a  retrospective 
glance  before  proceeding  with 
the  subject  of  this  chapter,  in 
order  to  note  briefly  some  im- 
portant incidents,  which  have  not 
been  recorded  in  their  proper 
sequence,  so  as  not  to  interrupt 
a  connected  narrative  of  the 
events  related  in  the  preceding  chapter.  During  the  period 
covered  by  that  chapter  happened  the  grave  disturbances 
caused  by  Sherip  Masahor,  aided  by  the  disaffection  of  the 
Datu  Patinggi  Gapur,  and  backed  by  Bruni  intrigue  ;  also 
the  troubles  at  Muka,  which  ended  in  the  cession  to  the  raj 
of  that  and  neighbouring  towns,  with  the  intermediate  country 
up  to  point  Kedurong.  Both  occurred  previously  to  Rentap's 
overthrow,  but  subsequently  to  the  Chinese  insurrection,  and 
both  will  be  fully  related  in  the  two  following  chapters. 

In  1850,  as  we  have  already  recorded,  the  Chinese 
colony  in  Upper  Sarawak  had  been  greatly  augmented  by 
the  arrival  of  some  thousands  of  Chinese  refugees  from 
Pemangkat    in    Dutch    territory,    who    had    come    over    into 

1S5 


1 86  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Sarawak  to  escape  the  tyranny  of  their  stronger  rivals  the, 
Chinese  of  Montrado. 

These  Chinese  were  mostly  gold  miners,  and  had 
established  themselves  at  Bau,  Bidi,  Baku,  and  Tundong,  under 
one  Kongsi,  or  company,  to  exploit  the  mines  in  the  vicinity 
of  these  villages.  Bau,  their  principal  village,  was  the 
headquarters  of  the  Kongsi.  Others  had  settled  at  Siniawan, 
and  Segobang,  but  these  were  agriculturists,  and  harmless 
people,  though  they  were  reluctantly  dragged  into  rebellion 
by  the  machinations  of  the  Secret  Society  formed  by  the 
turbulent  mining  communities,  and  became  involved  in  the 
ruin  that  followed  its  attempt  to  overthrow  the  Government. 

In  Kuching  there  was  also  a  fairly  large  number  of 
Chinese,  consisting  mainly  of  merchants  and  traders,  mostly 
well-to-do  people,  whose  interests,  as  well  as  racial  antagonism, 
placed  them,  then  as  now,  in  opposition  to  the  principles  of 
such  secret  societies,  which  aimed  at  the  subversion  of  all 
constituted  authority,  and  the  substitution  of  terrorism. 

For  years  past  a  secret  society  had  been  forming  in 
Upper  Sarawak,  with  its  headquarters  at  Bau.  It  was  not 
the  product  of  any  discontent  with  the  Rajah's  Government, 
to  which  its  members  had  fled  for  protection  from  the  tyranny 
to  which  they  had  been  subjected  over  the  border,  but  was 
formed  by  a  few  ambitious  and  unscrupulous  men  and  their 
adherents  to  gain  power,  and  these  were  principally  the 
scattered  remains  of  societies  which  had  been  driven  out  of 
Dutch  territory. 

The  name  of  the  Society  was  the  Sam-Tiau-Kiau  Hueh,1 
and  it  was  amalgamated  with  the  great  Thien-Ti "  Hueh,  or 
Triad  Society  of  China,  which  was  firmly  established  in 
Singapore,  and  had  its  ramifications  throughout  the  East. 
The  Thien-Ti  Hueh  had  its  rise  in  the  17th  century,  and 
had  a  political  origin.  The  object  was  the  restoration  of  the 
Ming  dynast\',  which  in  the  person  of  Tsung-Cheng  was  cut 
off  by  the  Manchus  in  or  about  1628.  The  Society  is  called 
"  Triad,"  it  being  also  known  by  the  name  of  Sam-hap  or 
"  three  united  " — a  Triad  of  Heaven,  Earth,  and  Man  ;  and 

1   Hueh,  or  Hui,  is  the  Chinese  word  f<>: 
-  Tien,  heaven — ti,  earth. 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION  187 

these  forces,  where  brought  into  perfect  unity,  produce 
peace  and  harmony.  But  it  has  entirely  lost  its  political 
character,  and  has  become  socialistic  and  anarchical.1 
Although  the  maxim  or  motto  of  the  Society  is  "  Obey 
Heaven  and  work  Righteousness,"  these  objects  are  the  very 
last  sought  by  the  members.  Both  in  China  and  in  the 
Dutch  Colonies  the  League  is  forbidden  by  severe  laws,  and 
in  Sarawak  since  1870  the  punishment  for  being  the  leader 
of  any  secret  society  is  death.  In  China  itself,  to  be  found 
in  possession  of  any  books,  seals  or  insignia  of  the  Triad 
Society  would  render  a  person  liable  to  decapitation,  or 
subject  him  to  a  persecution  to  which  even  death  would  be 
preferable.  The  sure  sign  of  the  beginning  of  activity  of  a 
Society  for  some  object  it  has  set  before  it  is  a  series  of 
murders  of  those  Chinese  who  have  refused  to  join  it,  who 
have  incurred  its  displeasure,  or  who  are  mistrusted.  His 
blood  is  drunk,  and  an  ear  sent  to  the  head  of  the  Society, 
in  token  that  he  has  been  put  to  death.  In  Singapore  it  is 
now  less  noxious.  There,  every  Society  has  to  be  registered 
and  reported  ;  and  no  secret  society  is  allowed  to  meet  that 
has  not  conformed  to  regulations,  that  deprive  it  of  half  its 
secrecy.2 

There  is  not  a  shrewder  or  more  industrious  man  under 
the  sun  than  the  yellow  Chinaman.  "  II  engraisse  le  sol  ou 
il  est  plante,"  as  Napoleon  said  of  the  Englishman.  He  is 
an  admirable  market-gardener,  and  will  get  more  out  of  half 
an  acre  of  land  than  any  man  else.  He  is  a  diligent  planter, 
miner,  and  artisan,  possesses  great  ability  as  a  merchant,  and 
is  indispensable  for  the  proper  development  of  tropical 
countries.  But  in  a  good  many  exists  an  invincible  love  of 
belonging  to  a  secret  society,  and  such  a  society,  although 
nominally  a  benefit-club,  is  really  a  hotbed  of  anarchy. 

As  it  gathered  strength  the  Sam-Tiau-Kiau  Hueh  became 
contumacious  and  insolent.  As  early  as  the  close  of  1850 
it   had   brought  itself  conspicuously  to   the   attention  of  the 

1  It  is  still  part  of  the  oath  of  the  initiated,  "  I  will  use  my  utmost  endeavour  to 
drive  out  the  Chheng  and  establish  the  Beng  dynasty." — "  Pickering,  Chinese  Secret 
Societies,"  in  the  Journal  of  the  Straits  Branch  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  1878. 

-  Pickering,  who  knew  a  good  deal  about  the  Society  and  wrote  thereon,  had  his 
life  attempted,  and,  though  not  killed,  was  badly  crippled. 


1 88  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Rajah,  and  the  principal  men  were  warned  to  desist  in  time. 
This  warning  was  unheeded,  and  a  little  later  it  was  discovered 
that  members  were  being  enrolled  by  persuasion  and  threats, 
and  that  an  agent  of  the  Triad  Society  had  come  over  from 
Singapore  to  further  its  objects.  This  man,  Kah  Yun,  was 
arrested  and  sentenced  to  death,  and  others  were  fined  and 
flogged.  In  1852,  the  Chinese  in  Upper  Sarawak,  who  had 
more  than  once  before  been  turbulent  and  rebellious,  openly 
resisted  a  Government  officer,  and  prevented  him  from  arrest- 
ing a  criminal,  a  member  of  the  Hueh.  The  Tuan  Muda 
was  sent  to  the  spot  with  a  force,  but,  though  well  armed, 
the  Chinese  did  not  then  feel  themselves  strong  enough  to 
resist,  and  offered  the  most  humble  obeisance,  delivering  up 
the  culprit.  They  were  then  ordered  to  build  a  fort  at 
Belidah,  below  Siniawan,  to  equip  it  with  arms  and  ammuni- 
tion, and  to  pay  the  wages  of  the  fortmen.  The  fort,  which 
was  to  be  a  check  on  the  Chinese,  was  built,  and  placed  in 
charge  of  Sherip  Matusain,  with  a  small  garrison  of  Malays. 
The  Chinese  had  been  steadily  collecting  arms  and  ammuni- 
tion for  some  time  past,  and  they  were  now  ordered  to  deliver 
up  a  hundred  muskets,  but  the  demand  was  afterwards 
relinquished.  This  was  a  mistake,  as  they  had  no  need  of 
firearms  for  their  protection,  living  as  they  did  amongst  the 
peaceable  Land  Dayaks,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  was  rightly  of 
opinion  that  they  had  not  been  sufficiently  humbled,  nor 
their  power  sufficiently  weakened.  To  the  Hueh,  however, 
the  lesson  was  useful — it  showed  them  the  strength  of  the 
Government,  and  taught  them  that  submission  would  be  wise 
until  they  were  better  prepared. 

In  Sarawak  in  1857  there  were  about  4000  of  these 
yellow  men,  located  mainly  in  the  mining  district.  There 
were  numerous  settlements  over  the  frontier  in  the  territories 
of  the  Sultan  of  Sambas,  where  also  the  people  were  engaged 
on  the  gold  mines,  and  the  Hueh  could  rely  upon  their  active 
aid. 

A  good  deal  of  smuggling  of  opium  had  been  in  progress, 
and  evidence  was  obtained  that  convicted  the  Kongsi  of  gold- 
miners  at  Hau  of  having  been  engaged  in  this  illicit  trade  ; 
whereupon   it  was  fined  ^150,  a  small  sum  considering  the 


THE  CHINESE   REBELLION  189 

amount  that  the  revenue  had  been  defrauded  by  their  means. 
This  fine  was  imposed  a  month  only  before  the  outbreak 
occurred  ;   it  was  paid,  and  the  Hueh  feigned  submission. 

The  Sultan  of  Sambas  had  long  been  jealous  of  the 
growing  prosperity  of  Sarawak,  and  of  the  contrast  afforded 
to  his  own  misrule  by  the  liberal  and  good  government  there. 
Moreover,  numerous  Land-Dayaks  from  Sambas  had  moved 
into  the  Rajah's  territories  for  the  sake  of  the  protection 
there  afforded,  which  they  could  not  obtain  under  the  Sultan. 
He  was  accordingly  willing  to  encourage  any  attempt  made 
to  overthrow  the  government  of  the  Rajah. 

In  October,  1856,  trouble  with  China  began,  and 
Commissioner  Yeh,  defying  Sir  John  Bowring  and  Admiral 
Seymour,  publicly  offered  a  reward  of  thirty  dollars  for 
every  English  head.  Rumour  of  this,  greatly  magnified  into 
a  general  slaughter  and  expulsion  of  the  English,  had  reached 
the  Chinese  in  Singapore,  where  an  outbreak  took  place  in 
1857,  and  *n  Sarawak,  where  signs  of  unrest  among  the 
Chinese  became  apparent.  The  Commission  of  Inquiry 
into  the  conduct  of  the  Rajah  greatly  tended  to  encourage 
the  Chinese  to  revolt.  They  believed  that  the  British 
Government  strongly  disapproved  of  the  rule  of  the  Rajah, 
and  would  not  lift  a  finger  to  maintain  it.  There  was  but  a 
handful  of  white  men  in  Sarawak,  and  the  Land-Dayaks 
were  well  known  to  be  a  timorous  people,  indisposed  to 
war.  It  was  also  thought  that  there  was  a  body  there 
of  disaffected  Malays,  under  the  influence  of  the  Rajah's  old 
adversary,  the  Pangiran  Makota,  who  was  now  supreme  in 
Bruni,  governing  the  mind  of  the  imbecile  Sultan,  and  watch- 
ing for  every  opportunity  of  upsetting  the  rule  of  the  English 
Rajah  in  the  south. 

The  headmen  of  the  Kongsi  accordingly  resolved  upon 
striking  a  sudden  blow,  mastering  Kuching,  and  sweeping 
the  Rajah  and  all  his  officials  out  of  the  place.  But,  so  as 
not  to  give  occasion  to  the  British  Government  to  interfere, 
they  determined  to  massacre  them  only,  and  to  spare  the 
lives  of  the  few  English  merchants  and  missionaries  resident 
at  Kuching,  and  not  members  of  the  Rajah's  staff. 

At   the    close   of   1856,   the   Rajah   was    at    Singapore, 


i9o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

whither  he  had  gone  to  recruit,  as  he  was  much  out  of 
health.  His  nephew,  the  Tuan  Muda,  was  at  Sekrang, 
engaged  on  the  construction  of  a  new  fort,  when  he  received 
a  letter  from  the  principal  official  in  Kuching,  requesting 
him  to  be  present  at  the  Chinese  New  Year,  and  informing 
him  that  he  had  received  disquieting  intelligence  about 
the  Chinese  gold-miners,  who,  under  the  plea  of  erecting  a 
new  joss  or  idol,  or  Tai-pi-kong,1  meditated  an  attack  on 
Kuching,  and  an  attempt  to  overthrow  the  Government  and 
establish  their  own  independent  rule.  The  Tuan  Muda  at 
once  sought  Abang  Aing,  the  principal  Sekrang  chief,  a 
man  to  be  thoroughly  trusted,  but  he  was  laid  up  with 
small-pox,  and  unable  to  help. 

"  He  spoke  very  kindly  and  to  the  purpose,  telling  me 
plainly  that  he  did  not  like  the  sound  of  the  reports,  and 
begged  me  to  be  careful.  He  regretted  that  he  could  not 
go  himself,  but  would  send  a  younger  brother,  and  urge  the 
Orang  Kaya  to  accompany  me,  and  he  promised  to  arrange 
so  as  to  follow  me  if  anything  serious  really  occurred.  No 
Christian  could  have  offered  advice  in  a  kinder  tone  or  better 
spirit." 

Accordingly  the  Tuan  Muda  hastened  to  Kuching,  but 
found  that  all  was  quiet  there,  and  it  was  supposed  that 
the  reports  were  unnecessarily  alarming.  Thus  satisfied,  he 
departed,  and  returned  to  Sekrang.  Mr.  Arthur  Crookshank, 
then  in  charge  at  Kuching  during  the  absence  of  the  Rajah 
and  the  Tuan  Besar,  who  was  in  England,  however,  took 
the  precaution  to  man  the  small  stockades,  which  con- 
stituted the  only  defences  of  the  town,  with  a  sufficient 
garrison. 

On  February  14,  1857,  four  days  before  the  insurrec- 
tion broke  out,  a  Chinaman,  who  had  formerly  been  expelled 
from  Sarawak  territory  for  joining  a  secret  society,  appeared 
in  Bruni,  and  was  detected  attempting  to  induce  the 
Chinese  servants  of  Mr.  Spenser  St.  John,  then  Consul- 
General  there,  to  enter  the  Thien-ti  Secret  Society  ;  and 
encouraging  them  to  do  so  with  the  assurance  that  a  general 
massacre  of  the  white  men  in  Sarawak  was  in  contemplation, 

1  Tai-pi-kong  was  the  name  of  the  joss. 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION  191 

and  that  the  Chinese  would  establish  their  own  supremacy 
there.  It  is  therefore  by  no  means  improbable  that  he  was 
an  agent  of  the  Kongsi  sent  to  Brum',  to  communicate  the 
plan  of  insurrection  to  Makota.  Moreover,  it  was  ascertained 
that  overtures  had  been  made  to  certain  disaffected  Malays 
in  Sarawak  to  shut  their  eyes,  if  they  did  not  feel  inclined 
for  actual  co-operation  in  the  attempt. 

On  the  Rajah's  return  to  Kuching  from  Singapore,  Mr. 
Crookshank  told  him  of  the  disquieting  rumours,  and  of  what 
he  had  done  for  the  protection  of  the  capital.  And,  although 
Mr.  Middleton,  the  Inspector  of  Police,  confirmed  his 
opinion  that  precautions  should  be  taken,  the  Rajah  could 
not  be  induced  to  believe  that  there  was  danger,  and  un- 
wisely dismissed  the  garrison  from  the  forts,  and  no  efficient 
watch  was  kept. 

On  February  1 8,  the  chief  of  the  Kongsi  assembled 
about  six  hundred  of  the  ablest-bodied  Chinamen  belonging 
to  the  Society  at  Bau,  armed  them  and  marched  to  Tundong 
on  the  Sarawak  river,  where  a  squadron  of  large  boats  had 
been  prepared  to  carry  them  to  Kuching. 

"  During  their  slow  passage  down  the  river,"  says  Mr.  St.  John, 
"a  Malay  who  was  accustomed  to  trade  with  the  Chinese  overtook 
them  in  a  canoe  and  actually  induced  them  to  permit  him  to  pass, 
under  the  plea  that  his  wife  and  children  lived  in  a  place  called 
Batu  Kawa,  eight  miles  above  the  town,  and  would  be  frightened 
if  they  heard  so  many  men  passing,  and  he  not  there  to  reassure 
them.  Instead  of  going  home,  he  pulled  down  as  fast  as  he  could 
till  he  reached  the  town  of  Kuching,  and  going  straight  to  his 
relative,  a  Malay  trader  of  the  name  of  Gapur,  who  was  a  trustworthy 
and  brave  man,  told  him  what  he  had  seen  ;  but  Gapur  said, 
'  Don't  go  and  tell  the  chief  or  the  Rajah  such  a  tissue  of  absurdities,' 
yet  he  went  himself  over  to  the  Bandar  and  informed  him,  but  the 
Datu's  answer  was,  '  The  Rajah  is  unwell,  we  have  heard  similar 
reports  for  the  last  twenty  years — don't  go  and  bother  him  about 
it.  I  will  tell  him  in  the  morning  what  your  relative  says.'  This 
great  security  was  caused  by  the  universal  belief  that  the  Chinese 
could  not  commit  so  great  a  folly  as  to  attempt  to  seize  the  govern- 
ment of  the  country,  considering  that  they  did  not  number  above 
4000,  while  at  that  time  the  Malays  and  Dayaks  within  the  Sarawak 
territories  amounted  to  200,000  at  least.  It  is  strange,  however, 
and  was  an  unpardonable  neglect  of  the  Bandar,  not  to  have  sent 


192  A    HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

a  fast  boat  up  the  river  to  ascertain  what  was  really  going  on. 
Had  he  done  so,  the  town  and  numerous  lives  would  have  been 
saved." 

Shortly  after  midnight  the  squadron  arrived  unnoticed, 
and  dividing  into  two  parties  proceeded  to  surprise  the 
Government  buildings  and  the  stockades.  The  details  of 
the  attack  on  the  Rajah's  house  and  of  his  escape  are  given 
in  an  account  by  his  steward,  Charles  Penty.  Mr.  Penty 
says : — 

I  was  sleeping  in  a  room  near  the  Rajah,  who  had  not  been 
well  for  some  days.  The  attack  took  place  about  midnight,  with 
fearful  yelling  and  firing.  I  hurried  out  of  bed,  and  met  the  Rajah 
in  the  passage  in  the  dark,  who  at  the  moment  took  me  for  one  of 
the  rebels,  grappled  me  by  the  throat,  and  was  about  to  shoot  me, 
when  he  fortunately  discovered  it  was  me.  We  then  opened  the 
Venetian  window  of  my  room  and  saw  poor  Mr.  Xicholetts 
murdered  before  our  eyes.  The  Rajah  said,  "Ah,  Penty,  it  will 
be  our  turn  next." 

Then  we  went  to  another  part  of  the  house,  where  the  crowd 
of  rebels  was  even  thicker.  The  Rajah  seemed  determined  to  fight. 
While  he  was  loading  a  double -barrel  gun  for  my  use,  our  light 
went  out  and  he  had  to  do  without.  The  Rajah  then  led  the  way 
to  his  bathroom,  under  his  bedroom,  and  rushed  out  of  the  door. 
The  rebels,  having  gathered  round  poor  Mr.  Xicholetts'  body,  left 
the  way  pretty  clear,  and  the  Rajah,  with  his  sword  and  revolver  in 
hand,  made  his  way  to  a  small  creek  and  swam  under  the  bow  of  a 
boat  that  had  brought  the  rebels.1  Being  unable  to  swim,  I  ran 
up  the  plantation  and  rushed  into  the  jungle.  The  Rajah's 
beautiful  house  was  blazing  from  end  to  end,  and  the  light  reflected 
for  a  great  distance.  Mr.  Crookshank's  and  Mr.  Middleton's 
houses  were  also  burning.  At  daybreak  I  heard  Malay  voices : 
they,  like  myself,  were  running  away  from  the  town,  which  was  in 
the  hands  of  the  rebels.  They  kindly  clothed  me  and  took  me  to 
the  Rajah. 

After  diving  under  the  Chinese  boat,  the  Rajah  had 
swum  across  the  creek,  where  he  lay  exhausted  on  the  mud 
bank  for  a  while,  until  sufficiently  recovered  to  be  able  to 
reach  the  house  of  a  Malay  official,  where  shortly  after  he  was 
joined  by  Mr.  Crookshank  and  Mr.  Middleton.  The  Mr. 
Xicholetts  who  was  murdered  before  the  eyes  of  the  Rajah 

1  The  Chinese,  holding  the   Rajah   to  be  invulnerable,  and  being  greatly  in   fear 
of  him,  purposely  left  the  exit  by  the  door  of  the  bathroom  unguarded. 


THE   CHINESE   REBELLION  193 

was  a  promising  young  officer,  who  had  just  arrived  from 
Lundu  on  a  visit,  and  was  lodged  in  a  cottage  near  the 
Rajah's  house.1  Startled  from  his  sleep  by  the  yells  of  the 
Chinese,  he  rushed  from  his  door,  when  the  rebels  fell  on 
him,  hacked  off  his  head,  and,  putting  it  on  a  pike,  paraded 
the  town  with  it,  shouting  that  they  had  killed  the  Rajah 
himself. 

Imminent  as  their  own  danger  was,  the  Malays  did  not 
forget  the  Rajah,  and  a  gallant  little  band  led  by  Haji  Bua 
Hasan,  then  the  Datu  Imaum,  hastened  to  his  aid,  though 
they  were  too  late  ;   and  they  had  to  fight  their  way  back. 

"The  other  attacks,"  says  Mr.  St.  John,  "took  place  simultaneously. 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Crookshank,  rushing  forth,  on  hearing  this  midnight 
alarm,  were  cut  down — the  latter  left  for  dead,  the  former  seriously 
wounded.  The  constable's  house  was  attacked,  but  he  and  his  wife 
escaped,  while  their  two  children  and  an  English  lodger  were  killed 
by  the  insurgents.  Here  occurred  a  scene  which  shows  how 
barbarous  were  the  Chinese.  When  the  rebels  burst  into  Mr. 
Middleton's  house,  he  fled,  and  his  wife  following  found  herself  in 
the  bathroom,  and  by  the  shouts  was  convinced  that  her  retreat  was 
cut  off.  In  the  meantime  the  Chinese  had  seized  her  two  children, 
and  brought  the  eldest  down  into  the  bathroom  to  show  the  way  his 
father  had  escaped.  Mrs.  Middleton's  only  refuge  was  a  large  water- 
jar;  there  she  heard  the  poor  little  boy  questioned,  pleading  for  his 
life,  and  heard  his  shriek  when  the  fatal  sword  was  raised  which 
severed  his  head  from  his  body.  The  fiends  kicked  the  little  head 
with  loud  laughter  from  one  to  another.  They  then  set  fire  to  the 
house,  and  she  distinctly  heard  the  second  child  shrieking  as  they 
tossed  him  into  the  flames.  Mrs.  Middleton  remained  in  the  jar 
till  the  falling  embers  forced  her  to  leave.  She  then  got  into  a 
neighbouring  pond,  and  thus  escaped  the  eyes  of  the  Chinese,  who 
were  frantically  rushing  about  the  burning  house.  Her  escape  was 
most  extraordinary.2 

"  The  stockades,  however,  were  not  surprised.  The  Chinese, 
waiting  for  the  signal  of  attack  on  the  houses,  were  at  length  perceived 
by  the  sentinel,  and  he  immediately  roused  the  treasurer,  Mr. 
Crymble,  who  resided  in  the  stockade,  which  contained  the  arsenal 
and  the  prison.  He  endeavoured  to  make  some  preparation  for 
defence,   although    he   had    but   four   Malays   with   him.      He   had 

1  He  had  joined  the  Sarawak  service  the  year  before.  He  was  a  brother  of 
Colonel  Xicholetts,  who  was  married  to  a  sister  of  the  present  Rajah. 

-  A  Mr.  Wellington  was  killed  trying  to  defend  Mrs.  Middleton  and  her  children. 
He  was  a  clerk  in  the  Borneo  Company,  and  had  only  lately  joined. 

O 


i94  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

scarcely  time,  however,  to  load  a  6-pounder  field-piece,  and  get  his 
own  rifle  ready,  before  the  Chinese  with  lcud  shouts  rushed  to  the 
assault.  They  were  led  by  a  man  bearing  in  each  hand  a  flaming 
torch.  Mr.  Crymble  waited  until  they  were  within  forty  yards,  he 
then  fired  and  killed  the  man  who,  by  the  light  he  bore,  made 
himself  conspicuous,  and,  before  the  crowd  recovered  from  the 
confusion  in  which  they  were  thrown  by  the  fall  of  their  leader, 
discharged  among  them  the  6-pounder  loaded  with  grape,  which 
made  the  assailants  retire  behind  the  neighbouring  houses,  or  hide  in 
the  outer  ditches.  But,  with  four  men,  little  could  be  done  ;  and  some 
of  the  rebels  having  quietly  crossed  the  inner  ditch,  commenced 
removing  the  planks  which  constituted  the  only  defence.  To  add 
to  the  difficulty,  they  threw  over  into  the  inner  court  little  iron 
tripods,  with  flaming  torches  attached,  which  rendered  it  as  light  as 
day,  while  they  remained  shrouded  in  darkness. 

"  To  increase  the  number  of  the  defenders,  Mr.  Crymble  released 
two  Malay  prisoners,  one  a  madman  who  had  killed  his  wife,  the 
other  a  debtor.  This  latter  quickly  disappeared,  while  the  former, 
regardless  of  the  shot  flying  around,  stood  to  the  post  assigned  him, 
opposite  a  plank  which  the  Chinese  were  trying  to  remove.  He  had 
orders  to  fire  his  carbine  at  the  first  person  who  appeared,  and,  the 
plank  giving  way,  a  man  attempted  to  force  his  body  through,  he 
pulled  the  trigger  without  lowering  the  muzzle  of  his  carbine,  and 
sent  the  ball  through  his  own  brains.  Mr.  Crymble  now  found  it 
useless  to  prolong  the  struggle,  as  one  of  his  few  men  was  killed, 
and  another,  a  brave  Malay  corporal,  was  shot  down  at  his  side. 
The  wounded  man  begged  Mr.  Crymble  to  fly  and  leave  him  there, 
but  asked  to  shake  hands  with  him  first,  and  tell  him  whether  he 
had  not  done  his  duty.  The  brave  Irishman  seized  him  by  the  arm 
and  attempted  to  drag  him  up  the  stairs  leading  to  the  dwelling  over 
the  gate,  but  the  Chinese  had  already  gained  the  courtyard,  and 
pursuing  them,  drove  their  spears  through  the  wounded  man,  and 
Mr.  Crymble  was  forced  to  let  go  his  hold,  and  with  a  brave  follower. 
Daud,  swung  himself  down  into  the  ditch  below.  Some  of  the 
rebels,  seeing  their  attempt  to  escape,  tried  to  stop  Mr.  Crymble,  and 
a  man  stabbed  at  him,  but  only  glanced  his  thick  frieze  coat,  and 
received  in  return  a  cut  across  the  face  from  the  Irishman's  cutlass, 
which  was  a  remembrance  to  carry  to  the  grave. 

"The  other  stockade,  though  it  had  been  but  a  corporal's  watch 
of  three  Malays,  did  not  surrender,  but  finding  that  every  other  place 
was  in  the  hands  of  the  Chinese,  the  brave  defenders  opened  their 
gates  and,  charging  the  crowd  of  rebels,  sword  in  hand,  made  their 
escape,  though  they  were  all  severely  wounded  in  the  attempt. 

"  The  confusion  which  reigned  throughout  the  rest  of  the  town 
may    be    imagined,    as,   startled    by   the    shouts    and   yells   of  the 


THE  CHINESE   REBELLION  195 

Chinese,  the  inhabitants  rushed  to  the  doors  and  windows,  and 
beheld  night  turned  into  day  by  the  bright  flames  which  rose  in 
three  directions,  where  the  Rajah's,  Mr.  Crookshank's,  and  Mr. 
Middleton's  houses  were  all  burning  at  the  same  time." 

Those  English  whose  dwellings  had  not  been  attacked 
gathered  in  the  Mission-house,  to  the  number  of  six  men 
with  eight  or  more  children.  All  the  men  had  guns,  and  it 
was  resolved  that  they  should  endeavour  to  keep  the  Chinese 
back  till  the  ladies  had  made  their  escape  into  the  jungle. 
The  Bishop,  armed  like  the  rest,  gave  his  blessing  to  the 
whole  party  that  united  in  brief  prayer  ;  but  with  the  first 
streaks  of  daylight  a  party  of  seven  Chinese  came  to  the 
Mission-house,  saying  that  their  quarrel  was  with  the  Govern- 
ment only,  and  not  with  the  English  generally.  They 
requested  the  Bishop  to  go  with  them  to  the  hospital  to 
attend  to  some  thirteen  or  fourteen  1  of  their  men  who  had 
been  wounded  in  the  attack  upon  the  fort. 

The  Rajah  as  soon  as  possible  proceeded  to  the  Datu  Bandar's 
house,  and  being  quickly  joined  by  his  English  officers,  endeavoured 
to  organise  a  force  to  surprise  the  victorious  Chinese,  but  it  was 
impossible.  No  sooner  did  he  collect  a  few  men  than  their  wives 
and  children  surrounded  them  and  refused  to  be  left, — and  being 
without  proper  arms  or  ammunition,  it  was  but  a  panic-stricken  mob  ; 
so  he  instantly  took  his  determination  with  that  decision  which  had 
been  the  foundation  of  his  success,  and  giving  up  the  idea  of  an 
immediate  attack,  advised  the  removal  of  the  women  and  children 
to  the  left-hand  bank  of  the  river,  where  they  would  be  safe  from  a 
land  attack  of  the  Chinese,  who  could  make  their  way  along  the 
right-hand  bank  by  a  road  at  the  back  of  the  town.  2 

By  the  morning  the  women  and  children  had  been 
moved  across,  and  the  Rajah  and  his  officers,  having  been 
joined  by  Abang  Buyong 3  and  some  armed  Malays,  proceeded 
to  the  Samarahan,  intending  to  go  on  to  the  Batang  Lupar, 
and  fall  back  on  the  well-equipped  forts  there  to  organise  a 
force  to  drive  out  the  rebels. 

The  next  morning  the  Chinese  chiefs  summoned  the 
Bishop  ;  Mr.  L.  V.  Helms,  Manager  of  the  Borneo  Company 

1  St.  John  says  thirty-seven,  five  of  whom  died  before  the  Bishop's  arrival. 

2  Spenser  St.  John,  Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke,  to  whom  we  are  mainly  indebted  for 
the  following  particulars  we  give  of  the  insurrection. 

3  A  Saribas  Malay  Chief,  and  a  staunch  supporter  of  the  Government. 


196 


A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 


Limited  ;  Mr.  Rupell,  a  merchant,  and  the  Datu  Bandar,  to 
appear  before  them  in  the  Court-house.  Seated  on  the 
Rajah's  chair,  the  head  Chief,  supported  by  his  secretaries, 
issued  his  orders  that  Mr.  Helms  and  Mr.  Rupell  were  to 
rule  the  foreign  portion  of  the  town,  and  the  Datu  Bandar 
the  Malays,  under  the  Kongsi  as  supreme  rulers.  The 
Bsihop  now  warned  the  Chinese  that  they  were  playing  a 
desperate  game,  that  the  Tuan  Muda  would  be  coming  down 


OLD    CHINESE    TEMPLE,    KUCHING. 


upon  them,  with  his  host  of  Sekrang  and  Balau  warriors,  to 
avenge  the  death  of  his  uncle  and  his  friends  —  for  most  of 
them  supposed  the  Rajah  dead.  Discouragement  fell  upon 
the  Chinese,  for  they  remembered  that  the  Tuan  Muda  was 
the  daring  and  popular  leader  of  the  Sea-Davaks,  and  could 
bring  many  thousands  of  these  wild  warriors  against  them. 
They  therefore  decided  to  send  him  a  letter  to  the  effect 
that  they  would  not  interfere  with  him  so  long  as  he  did  not 
interfere  with  them,  and  confined  himself  to  the  districts 
under  his  government. 

The  leaders  also  knowing  that  the  Rajah  was  not  killed. 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION  197 

had  offered  a  large  reward  for  his  capture,  dead  or  alive,  for 
what  he  was  preparing  they  knew  not.  They  were  now 
doubly  anxious  to  leave  Kuching  with  their  plunder,  they 
therefore  called  upon  the  Europeans  and  the  Malay  chiefs 
present  to  swear  fidelity  to  the  Kongsi,  and  this  they  were 
forced  to  do  under  fear  of  instant  death. 

The  next  day  at  noon  the  Chinese  retired  up-river  with 
their  boats  heavily  laden  with  cannon,  rifles,  plate,  money,  and 
all  the  valuables  upon  which  they  could  lay  their  hands.  The 
Malay  chiefs  at  once  held  a  meeting  at  the  Datu  Bandar's 
house,  when  sturdy  Abang  Pata,  the  Datu  Temanggong's  son, 
avowed  his  determination  to  remain  faithful  to  the  Rajah 
and  at  once  to  wreck  vengeance  on  his  enemies.  Though 
all  were  as  faithful,  wiser  counsels  prevailed,  the  Malays 
being  so  scattered,  conveying  their  women  and  children  to 
places  of  safety,  that  no  organised  attack  could  yet  be  made  ; 
but  Pata  impetuously  dashed  off  with  a  dozen  men  in  a  small 
canoe,  and  following  the  Chinese,  captured  one  of  their  boats, 
killing  five  of  the  crew.  This,  and  the  news  reaching  them 
that  the  Malays  were  preparing  to  resist,  brought  the  Chinese 
back,  recruited  by  several  hundreds  from  Upper  Sarawak, 
and  the  agriculturists  of  Segobang,  whom  they  had  forced  to 
join  them,  and  when  the  Rajah  returned  at  the  earnest 
request  of  the  chiefs  to  lead  them  against  the  Chinese, 
a  request  he  complied  with,  though  he  knew  it  was  useless, 
he  found  the  rest  of  the  English  flying,  the  town  in  the 
hands  of  the  Chinese,  and  the  Malay  houses  burning. 

As  soon  as  the  Chinese  boats  were  seen  rounding  the 
point,  above  the  town,  the  Malays  gallantly  dashed  at  them, 
and  succeeded  in  capturing  ten  of  their  largest  barges.  They 
were,  however,  pressed  back  by  the  more  numerous  and  better 
armed  Chinese,  and,  though  they  lost  heavily,  they  doggedly 
retreated  retaining  their  prizes,  which  were  laden  with  valuable 
plunder,  and,  what  was  of  more  use  to  them,  a  quantity  of 
arms  and  ammunition,  and  secured  them  to  a  large  trading 
vessel  anchored  in  the  centre  of  the  river.  Here  they  main- 
tained a  determined  resistance,  which  they  were  now  better 
able  to  do,  and  effectually  defied  the  Chinese  to  dislodge  them. 
They   were    commanded   by   the    Datu    Bandar   Muhammad 


19S  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Lana,  a  grave  and  gentle  Malay,  who  now  showed  the  courage 
of  his  father,  the  late  Datu  Patinggi  Ali.  The  Chinese  still 
held  the  town  in  force. 

The  Rajah  was  again  forced  to  retire,  to  carry  out  his 
original  intention  of  rallying  his  people  up  the  coast,  but  his 
first  care  was  to  see  to  the  safety  of  the  ladies,  the  English 
non-combatants,  and  the  wounded,  and  to  send  them  off  to 
safety  at  Lingga  fort  under  the  care  of  the  Bishop  in  a 
schooner.  Despondently  he  prepared  next  day  to  follow 
with  a  small  flotilla  of  Malay  boats,  but  at  the  mouth  of  the 
river,  to  his  intense  relief,  the  Borneo  Company's  steamer,  the 
Sir  James  Brooke,  arriving  from  Singapore,  met  them.  The 
vanguard  of  the  Tuan  Muda's  force,  which  was  quickly 
coming  to  his  relief,  was  also  arriving,  and  now  the  tide  had 
changed,  and  the  day  of  reckoning  had  come. 

The  sight  of  the  steamer  and  the  Dayak  bangkongs 
eagerly  following  was  quite  sufficient  for  the  Chinese.  They 
fired  one  wild  volley,  and  fled  panic-stricken,  with  the  ships' 
guns  playing  on  them,  and  pursued  by  the  Dayaks  and 
Malays. 

The  Datu  Bandar's  gallant  band  on  board  the  trader  and 
in  war-boats  around  her  had  stood  their  ground  in  spite  of 
heavy  guns  having  been  brought  to  bear  upon  them,  and  they 
now  assumed  the  offensive.  The  Chinese,  that  morning,  had 
crossed  the  river  to  destroy  the  Malay  town  on  the  other 
side  ;  their  boats  were  now  seized,  and  the  Dayaks  pursued 
them  into  the  jungle.  Of  that  large  party,  not  one  can  have 
escaped.  Those  who  were  not  killed  wandered  into  the 
jungle  and  died  of  starvation,  or  hanged  themselves.  Their 
bodies  were  eagerly  sought  for,  as  on  many  were  found  from 
five  to  twenty  pounds  sterling,  besides  silver  spoons,  forks, 
or  other  valuables,  the  plunder  of  the  English  houses. 

The  main  body  of  the  Chinese  retired  by  road  to  Sego- 
bang,  and  from  thence  up-river  in  their  boats. 

We  have  already  recorded  how  the  news  had  been  brought 
to  the  Tuan  Muda  at  Sekrang,  and  how  he  hurried  with  his 
Dayaks  to  the  Rajah's  rescue,  to  find  him  safe  and  in  good 
health,  though  crippled  by  the  injuries  he  had  received,  on 
board  the  Sir  James  Brooke,  which   he   had    made  his   head- 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION  199 

quarters.  Kuching  was  wrecked — "a  mass  of  ashes,  and 
confusion  and  ruin  lay  around.  Half-habitable  debris  of 
houses  only  were  left.  The  trees  for  many  hundred  yards 
around  the  fires  were  nearly  all  burnt  black  and  leafless,  and 
those  remaining  alive  were  drooping,"  so  the  Tuan  Muda 
wrote,  and  we  will  now  follow  his  account  of  the  retribution 
which  the  rebels  so  deservedly  met. 

To  check  the  pursuing  boats  of  the  Dayaks  and  Malays, 
the  Chinese  had  thrown  up  a  strong  stockade  at  Lidah  Tanah 
(lit.  the  tongue  of  land),  a  point  of  land  at  the  junction  of  the 
right  and  left  hand  branches  of  the  river.  Here  they  placed 
a  picked  garrison  under  trusted  leaders,  and  the  stockade  was 
well  armed  with  guns  and  rifles  that  had  been  taken  from 
Kuching. 

A  small  force  of  Malays,  and  several  hundreds  of  Sekrang 
and  Saribas  Dayaks  were  organised  to  attack  it,  and  the  mild 
Datu  Bandar,  in  his  new  role  of  a  redoubtable  warrior,  led 
them  with  such  dash  that  the  position  was  soon  carried. 
Amongst  the  trophies  that  were  brought  back  by  the  Dayaks 
the  Chinese  merchants  recognised  the  heads  of  some  of  the 
principal  leaders  of  the  rebels,  and  showed  marked  satisfaction 
that  such  was  the  case. 

The  Rajah  and  the  Tuan  Muda  then  pushed  on  to 
Belidah,  about  eight  miles  above  Lidah  Tanah.  Here  the 
fort  was  found  to  have  been  destroyed,  the  rebels  having  left 
little  behind  them  in  their  retreat  but  desolation  and  misery. 
The  Malays  and  Dayaks  were  then  despatched  under  Abang 
Buyong  to  attack  the  Chinese,  but  these  latter  were  in  full 
retreat  from  Bau,  and  their  other  villages,  towards  the  border  ; 
once  across  they  would  be  safe  : 

but  the  dogs  of  war  were  at  their  heels,  harassing  and  cutting  them 
off  at  every  opportunity.  Their  plan  of  retreat  was  very  skilfully 
arranged,  and  a  fanatical  idea  of  the  infallibility  of  their  Joss  (idol), 
which  they  carried  with  them,  kept  them  in  order.  We  were  helpless 
to  a  certain  extent,  in  being  unable  to  gather  together  an  organised 
force,  or  we  should  have  routed  them  without  doubt,  and  fearful  loss 
of  life  would  have  been  the  consequence.  In  looking  back  on  these 
events,  it  was  perhaps  fortunate  that  we  were  not  able  to  act  more 
unitedly  against  them,  but  if  it  had  been  within  our  power  at  that 
time,  the  Joss  undoubtedly  would  have  been  overturned,  and  the 


200  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

people  exterminated.  The  most  merciful  of  men  could  not  deny 
that  they  had  richly  merited  such  a  punishment.  They  protected 
this  image  with  the  utmost  caution,  keeping  their  women  and  children 
around  it,  while  their  bravest  men  acted  as  a  guard  on  the  outside. 
They  had  advanced  a  considerable  distance  before  the  Dayaks 
approached.  The  Dayak  leaders  on  closing  were  at  once  shot 
down.  This  made  the  others  more  cautious.  But  the  Chinamen 
had  our  best  rifles  and  arms,  with  all  the  necessary  accoutrements 
belonging  to  them.  The  Dayaks  then  changed  their  tactics,  and  did 
not  dare  appear  in  the  open  road  again,  but  entered  the  jungle  on 
each  side  of  the  enemy,  and  thus  harassed  them  continually,  cutting 
off  every  straggler  without  mercy.  The  Chinamen  were  powerless  to 
follow  these  wild  cat-like  fellows  into  the  close  jungles,  and  were 
obliged  to  submit  to  their  fate  as  best  they  might.  The  road  over 
which  the  rebels  were  retreating  was  one  continued  track  of  clothes, 
valuables,  silver  plate,  and  dead  bodies.  To  enable  their  retreating 
force  to  gain  a  few  minutes  whilst  passing  precipitous  places,  they 
strewed  the  road  with  rice,  and  threw  here  and  there  a  valuable  article 
to  retard  and  keep  off  their  pursuers.  This  continued  for  several 
successive  days,  during  which  the  Chinese  must  have  suffered 
intensely.  They  were  not  even  able  to  cook  or  sleep  by  night  or 
day.  They  now  arrived  at  a  point  which  must  have  ended  their 
career,  if  it  had  been  properly  held.  This  was  Gombang  Hill, 
which  forms  the  frontier  between  Sambas  and  Sarawak  :  here  was  a 
long  Dayak  house,  past  which  the  Chinese  could  not  go  unless  the 
inhabitants  were  favourably  disposed  to  them  ; l — 

but  these  suffered  themselves  to  be  bribed  into  permitting 
the  rebels  to  pass  unmolested.  Thus  the  survivors  of  the 
Chinese  escaped  into  Sambas  territory. 

But  no  sooner  were  they  there  than  those  of  the  Chinese 
who  did  not  belong  to  the  Secret  Society,  filled  with  resent- 
ment against  the  members  of  that  league  for  having  involved 
them  in  such  disaster,  fell  upon  them,  and  killed  many  of 
them,  reducing  the  hundred  of  the  original  band  of  600,  who 
had  survived  the  muskets  and  spears  of  the  Dayaks,  to 
between  thirty  and  forty.  To  add  to  their  discomfiture,  the 
Dutch  officers  came  upon  them  and  despoiled  them  of  all  the 
arms  and  plunder  they  had  succeeded  in  bringing  with  them, 
and  placed  them  under  strict  surveillance.  The  Dutch 
Government  sent  back  to  Kuching  everything  which  was 
considered  to  be  public  or  private  property." 

1    Ten    Years  in  Sarawak.  -  Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  Op.  cil. 


THE  CHINESE   REBELLION  201 

How  many  of  the  rebels  were  killed  it  has  not  been  possible 
to  estimate,  but  it  could  not  have  been  far  short  of  1000. 
Sir  Spenser  estimates  that  2000,  of  which  half  were  women 
and  children,  escaped  over  the  borders,  but  this  is  probably 
an  under-estimate. 

"  It  was  the  madness,"  wrote  the  Rajah,  "  the  stark 
staring  folly  of  the  attempt  that  caused  it  to  succeed.  With 
mankind  in  general  we  may  trust  to  their  not  doing  anything 
utterly  opposed  to  reason  ;  but  this  rule  does  not  hold  good 
with  the  Chinese,"  who  in  their  blindness  of  consequences 
become  daring  and  audacious,  and,  when  possessed  of  power, 
contemptuous  of  their  adversaries,  but  who  lose  spirit  on  the 
first  reverse. 

April  15,  witnessed  the  closing  scene  of  the  drama. 
A  prahu  gaily  decorated  with  flags  and  the  yellow  umbrella, 
the  symbol  of  authority,  went  up  and  down  the  river.  A 
gong  was  beaten,  and  then  a  man,  standing  among  the  flags 
and  umbrella,  proclaimed  peace,  and  announced  that  all 
danger  was  at  an  end,  and  that  every  one  might  now  put 
away  his  arms. 

On  March  28,  when  peace  had  been  restored,  H.M.S. 
Spartan  arrived,  under  Captain  Sir  William  Hoste,  from 
Singapore,  with  instructions  to  protect  British  lives  and 
property,  but  with  no  orders  to  fire  a  gun,  or  to  lend  a 
marine  or  blue-jacket  for  the  protection  of  the  Sarawak 
Government.  There  was  no  knowing  what  the  humanitarians 
at  home  might  say,  should  a  finger  be  held  out  to  assist  the 
Rajah.  Those  who  lifted  up  their  voices  to  justify  the 
pirates  might  now  espouse  the  cause  of  the  Chinese,  and 
again  be  loud  in  condemnation  of  the  Rajah  for  having 
summarily  suppressed  the  insurrection.  There  will  always 
be  found  a  man,  as  says  Cordatus  in  Ben  Jonson's  Every 
Man  out  of  his  Humour,  "  who  will  prefer  all  countries 
before  his  native,"  and  thinks  every  man  right  except  an 
Englishman. 

The  Dutch  Resident  at  Pontianak  behaved  very 
differently  from  the  English  authorities.  He  at  once  sent 
a  gunboat  and  troops  to  Sarawak  with  offers  of  assistance, 
which,  however,  were  not  then  required. 


202  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

The  rebellion  was  "  the  direct  outcome  of  the  loss  of 
prestige  and  strength  which  followed  the  appointment  of  the 
Commission  sent  to  try  the  Rajah  for  high  crimes  and 
misdemeanours,  the  favourable  findings  of  which  had  never 
been  brought  home  to  the  native  mind  by  any  act  of 
reparation  made  by  the  British  Government." '  The 
Chinese  knew  that  the  Rajah  had  been  left  to  his  fate  by 
his  country,  and,  as  The  Times  commented, — 

had  they  (the  Chinese)  had  the  opportunity  of  reading  recent 
debates  in  the  British  Parliament,  their  more  subtle  spirits  might 
have  received  further  encouragement  from  the  belief  that  we  were 
not  only  an  ultra-peaceful,  but  an  ultra-punctilious  people,  and  that 
the  cutting  of  Rajah  Brooke's  throat  and  the  burning  of  the  town 
might  be  considered  matters  beyond  our  cognizance,  until  the  precise 
colonial  status  of  Sarawak  was  determined,  and  whether  a  Kunsi 
Chinese  (sic,  Chinese  Kongsi)  was  under  the  jurisdiction  of  any 
British  court. 

And,  the  Daily  News,  which  through  ignorance  of  the 
true  circumstances  had  voiced  the  hostile  opinion  of  the 
cranks  against  the  Rajah  in  the  matter  of  the  suppression 
of  the  Saribas  and  Sekrang  pirates,  was  candid  enough  to 
admit 

having  in  the  earlier  part  of  Sir  James  Brooke's  career  felt  it  our 
duty  to  express  our  dissent  from,  and  disapproval  of,  certain  parts  of 
his  policy,  we  have  sincere  pleasure  in  proclaiming  our  unreserved 
admiration  of  the  manner  in  which  he  must  have  exercised  his 
power  to  have  produced  such  fruits. 

But  it  was  precisely  that  part  of  his  policy  that  had  been 
condemned  by  Mr.  Gladstone  and  the  Daily  News  which 
had  produced  these  present  marked  effects. 

The  condition  of  the  Sarawak  Government  was  now 
serious,  and  surrounded  with  difficulties.  The  revenue  was 
gone.  There  was  not  a  shred  of  a  document  extant  to  tell 
the  tale  of  former  times.  So  complete  was  the  ruin  that 
the  Rajah  had  to  wear  native  costume,  which  he  borrowed 
here  and  there. 

But  there  was  a  bright  spot  amid  the  gloom,  in  the  devotion 
of  the  natives  ;  their  sympathy,  their  kindness,  their  entire  willing- 

1  Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  Rajah  Brooke. 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION  203 

ness  to  do  what  they  could,  are  all  balm  to  a  wounded  spirit.  We 
have  lost  everything  but  the  hearts  of  the  people,  and  that  is  much 
to  retain.1 

The  fidelity  of  the  natives  of  all  races  and  classes  was  ex- 
emplary. They  everywhere  took  up  arms  to  support  the 
Rajah  and  their  Government,  and  had  the  Chinese  been 
twenty  times  as  numerous,  they  would  have  been  driven  out. 

The  whole  of  the  Rajah's  private  capital  had  been  long 
ago  exhausted,  and  how  were  the  ruins  to  be  cleared  away 
and  the  Government  buildings  to  be  rebuilt  ?  how  were  the 
servants  of  the  State  to  be  paid  ?  Nevertheless  the  Rajah 
and  his  staff  faced  their  difficulties  with  courage  and  con- 
fidence ;  but,  deserted  by  the  British  Government,  he  was 
sorely  tempted  to  appeal  to  that  of  another  power.  Happily, 
after  a  period  of  discouragement  and  resentment,  he  resolved 
to  face  his  difficulties,  relying  only  on  himself  and  his  few 
English  assistants.  He  had  on  his  right  and  left  hand  two 
stout  and  able  men,  his  two  nephews. 

Within  a  short  period  many  of  the  Chinese  refugees, 
particularly  those  of  the  agricultural  class,  returned  and 
rebuilt  their  old  homes.  Gradually  their  numbers  were 
added  to  by  others  from  over  the  border,  from  the  Straits, 
and  from  China,  until  in  time  Upper  Sarawak  recovered  its 
former  prosperity.  The  severe  lesson  they  had  learnt,  which 
had  taught  them  how  powerless  they  were  to  cope  with  the 
forces  at  the  call  of  the  Government,  that  were  not  repre- 
sented merely  by  a  handful  of  fortmen  and  policemen  as 
they  had  blindly  imagined,  did  not,  however,  deter  them 
from  forming  another  Hueh,  which  decreased  and  increased 
in  strength  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  people  in  the 
district.  But  the  power  of  the  Government  has  been  steadily 
growing,  and  what  chance  the  Hueh  may  have  ever  hoped 
to  obtain  of  successfully  opposing  it  has  long  ago  vanished. 
Dangerous  and  mischievous,  however,  these  secret  societies 
can  still  be,  unless  vigilantly  watched  and  swiftly  suppressed, 
and  the  Chinese  population  in  Upper  Sarawak  has  since 
increased  five-fold. 

For  years  the   Bau  Hueh  remained   dormant,  though  it 

1  The  Rajah  to  Mr.  Templer. 


204  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

had  a  perfect  organisation,  but  in  1869  it  raised  its  hand  in 
opposition  to  the  Government,  and  barbarously  murdered 
an  informer.  Mr.  Crookshank,  who  was  administering  the 
Government  in  the  absence  of  the  present  Rajah,  took 
prompt  and  energetic  measures,  and  all  the  head-men  of 
the  Hueh  were  arrested.  They  were  condemned  to  long 
terms  of  imprisonment  and  to  be  flogged.  When  their 
terms  had  expired  they  were  banished  the  country  under  a 
penalty  of  death  should  they  return  ;  but  the  Hueh  in  Dutch 
Borneo,  of  which  this  was  a  branch,  immediately  re-organised 
the  Society  and  appointed  other  office-bearers.  Unfortunately 
the  register  and  records  of  this  Hueh  could  not  be  found. 
They  had  been  cleverly  concealed  in  the  double-planked 
floor  of  a  bedplace  which  had  been  overturned  in  the  search. 

In  1884-85,  the  Secret  Society  was  in  active  revolt 
against  the  Dutch  Government,  which  was  at  first  only  able 
to  hold  the  rebels  in  check,  not  having  sufficient  forces  to 
quell  them.  At  Mandor,  a  large  Chinese  town,  they  killed 
the  Dutch  official  in  charge,  and  burnt  down  the  Govern- 
ment buildings.  After  some  hard  fighting  with  great  loss 
on  both  sides,  Mandor  was  surrendered  by  the  rebels,  upon 
the  false  promise  of  an  amnesty  held  out  to  them  by  the 
Sultan  of  Sambas.  Finding  themselves  deceived,  the 
Chinese  again  broke  out  in  rebellion,  and  seized  the  im- 
portant town  of  Mempawa,  killing,  amongst  others,  the 
Dutch  officer  in  charge,  and  driving  the  Dutch  troops  back. 
But  their  triumph  was  short-lived,  for  upon  the  arrival  of 
strong  reinforcements  the  rebellion  was  quelled.  One  of 
the  principal  leaders,  the  man  who  had  shot  the  Dutch 
controller  of  Mandor,  was  subsequently  arrested  in  Sarawak, 
but  rather  than  face  his  fate  he  hanged  himself  by  his  queue 
in  his  cell  the  day  a  Dutch  gunboat  had  come  round  to 
fetch  him. 

In  1889,  a  secret  society,  allied  with  the  Sam  Tiam  '  or 
Ghee  Hin  Hueh,  a  branch  of  the  Triad  Society  of  China, 
was  established  at  Segobang,  the  centre  of  a  large  district 
of  Chinese  pepper  planters.  This  Hueh  had  been  formed  by 
criminals  and  expelled  members  of  the  Society  from  Mandor 

1  Three  Dots. 


THE  CHINESE  REBELLION 


205 


and  Montrado.  Their  primary  intention  was  to  raise 
another  rebellion  in  Dutch  territory,  but  they  were  banded  by 
oath  to  exterminate  all  people  without  queues.  On  July  15, 
the  houses  of  the  chief  and  other  known  leaders  were 
surrounded  and  searched,  and  the  inmates  arrested.  The 
documents  seized  clearly  showed  the  objects  of  the  Society  ; 
that  they  had  hundreds  of  men  organised  and  ready  for 
service  ;    and    that   they   were    in    correspondence    with    the 


1 

1   ^^^*^^«^^*- 

i  «■  Mrcj^HMBri^H 

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iWji 

I--J. 

■mmm * ***#■£&  ^tJx&L* 

:*^95SB'  ^^^ 

A    CHINESE    PROCESSION. 


Ghee  Hin  Societies  at  Mandor  and  Singapore.  Six  of  the 
leaders  were  executed,  and  eleven  sentenced  to  penal  servi- 
tude for  life.  One  of  the  principals,  who  had  taken  a  lead- 
ing part  in  the  Mandor  rebellion  of  1884,  was  handed  over 
to  the  Dutch. 

As  late  as  1906,  one  or  two  mysterious  murders  of 
Chinese  in  the  Rejang  aroused  the  suspicions  of  the 
authorities,  and  it  was  found  that  a  secret  society  existed  on 
that  river.  Valuable  help  was  afforded  the  Government  by 
anonymous  letters  sent  by  law-abiding  Chinese  containing 
minutely  accurate  information  as  to  the  members  and  their 
doings,  which  led  to  the  arrest  of  many,  and  to  the  discovery 


206  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

of  incriminating  documents.  This  Society  was  called  the 
Golden  Orchid  or  Lily  Society,  and  was  established  at 
various  places  along  the  coast,  from  the  Rejang  to  Simatan. 
This  was  also  a  branch  of  the  Triad  Society,  professing  the 
same  great  purpose,  the  reinstatement  of  the  Ming  dynasty 
in  China,  but  in  practice  its  objects  were  murder,  robbery, 
and  violence.  Eight  of  the  ringleaders  were  executed,  and 
ten  others  sentenced  to  long  terms  of  imprisonment. 


MALAY    CANNON    (LELA)    AND    SPEARS. 


CHAPTER    VII 


THE    SHERIP    MASAHOR 


HEN  the  Rajah 
^assumed  the 
Government  of 
Sarawak,  he  had 
to  look  out  for  suit- 
able officials  among 
the  Malays  to  carri- 
on the  Government, 
and  suitable  officials 
were  not  easily  to  be 
found  where  hitherto 
all  had  been  corruption 
and  oppression.  There  is  not  much  choice  in  rotten  apples. 
There  were  three  offices  of  importance  to  be  filled  :  that 
of  Datu  Patinggi,  he  who  had  the  supervision  and  control 
over  the  tribes  on  the  left-hand  branch  of  the  river  ;  that  of 
Datu  Bandar,  he  who  held  sway  over  those  on  the  right 
hand  ;  and  the  Datu  Temanggong,  who  had  to  look  after 
the  tribes  on  the  coast.1 

It  will  be  remembered  that  before  the  rebellion  of  the 
Sarawak  people  against  the  Government  of  Rruni  these 
offices  had  been  held  by  three  of  their  chiefs,  who,  in  1841, 
were  reinstated  in  their  old  positions  by  the  Rajah,  and 
made    collectors    of  the   revenue   in   their   several   districts.2 

1  In  addition  to  their  other  duties  in  the  capital.     See  list  of  titles,  p.  xi. 
3  See  chap.  iii.  p.  77,  for  particulars  of  these  Datus. 

207 


2o8  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

This  was  a  tax  levied  on  the  head  of  a  family  of  a  bushel 
and  a  half  of  rice.  Hitherto  the  officers  of  Government,  the 
Bruni  Pangirans  great  and  small,  had  exercised  the  right 
of  pre-emption  of  whatever  the  Dayak  produced,  and  that 
at  the  prices  they  themselves  fixed.  Rajah  Brooke  modified, 
but  could  not  wholly  abolish,  this  privilege.  He  suffered 
these  three  officials,  and  them  alone,  to  have  the  right  to  buy 
before  all  others  what  the  Dayaks  had  to  dispose  of,  but 
only  at  market  price.  With  the  others,  the  Datu  Patinggi 
Gapur  had  been  in  disgrace  under  Rajah  Muda  Hasim  and 
the  Pangiran  Makota.  Any  one  who  was  looked  on  with  an 
evil  eye  by  that  arch-scoundrel  Makota  had  a  claim  to  be 
regarded  as  an  honest  man,  and  for  a  while  the  Datu  Patinggi 
did  fairly  well,  but  this  was  only  till  he  had,  as  he  thought, 
established  himself  firmly  ;  and  then  he  began  to  oppress 
the  natives  in  the  old  way,  by  enforcing  sales  to  himself  on 
his  own  terms  ;  and  the  timid  people,  accustomed  to  this 
sort  of  treatment,  and  afraid  of  the  consequences  should 
they  protest,  submitted  without  denouncing  him  to  the 
Rajah.  He  was  a  man  plausible  and  polite,  and  some  time 
elapsed  before  the  Rajah  obtained  sufficient  evidence  to 
convict  him.  But  when  he  did,  instead  of  deposing  him 
from  office,  he  announced  his  determination  to  pay  each  of 
these  officials  a  fixed  salary,  in  lieu  of  the  enforced  first 
trade  with  the  Dayaks,  and  of  their  share  in  Dayak  revenue. 
The  Datu  Patinggi  had  a  handsome  daughter  who  was 
sought  in  marriage  by  a  certain  Sherip  Bujang,  brother  of 
Sherip  Masahor  of  Serikei,  who  had  assumed  the  government 
of  the  Rejang  river,1  and  had  long  been  in  league  with  the 
Saribas  and  Sekrang  pirates — an  evil-minded  and  intriguing 
man.  The  Rajah  was  very  averse  to  this  marriage,  but 
could  not  forbid  it.  And  the  result  was  that  Gapur  and 
Masahor  put  their  heads  together,  confided  to  each  other 
their  mutual  grievances,  and  commenced  plotting  against 
the    Rajah    and    his    officers.      Serikei    is    20    miles    up    the 

1  The  Datu  Patinggi  Abdul  Rahman  was  the  rightful  Malay  chief  of  the  Rejang, 
and  the  Sultan's  representative.  Sherip  Masahor  bad  originally  settled  at  Igan, 
which  place,  with  the  surrounding  district,  belonged  to  him.  At  Serikei  he  was  an 
interloper.  He  usurped  authority  wherever  he  could  do  so,  and  the  Sultan,  whose 
power  in  the  Rejang  was  but  a  shadow,  was  constrained  to  put  up  with  the  Sherip's 
pretensions. 


THE  SHERIP  MASAHOR  209 

Rejang  river,  which  was  not  yet  within  the  jurisdiction  of 
Sarawak,  but  Saribas  and  Sekrang  were,  and  Masahor  was 
a  source  of  annoyance  and  danger  by  incessantly  fomenting 
agitation  among  the  people  of  these  rivers  against  the  Rajah's 
government,  and  supplying  them  with  powder  and  arms. 
For  a  while  the  Sadong  district  had  been  placed  under  the 
charge  of  the  Datu  Patinggi  as  well  as  his  own,  but  it  was 
found  that,  not  satisfied  with  the  salary  paid  by  the 
Government  in  lieu  of  the  right  of  pre-emption,  he  was 
enforcing  that  same  right  and  using  great  oppression  in  both 
districts.  The  Tuan  Besar,  who  was  then  administering  the 
Government,  went  from  Kuching  to  make  a  tour  in  both 
these,  and  to  ascertain  whether  the  rumours  relative  to  the 
misconduct  of  Gapur  were  true,  and  by  this  means  sufficient 
proof  of  his  illegal  exactions  was  obtained. 

The  Datu  Patinggi  had  indeed  pursued  a  course  of 
oppression  ever  since  1 8  5 1 ,  when  the  marriage  between 
Sherip  Bujang  and  his  daughter  took  place.  He  had  levied 
imposts  on  the  Sarawak  Dayaks,  forced  trade  on  the  Matu 
people,  oppressed  the  Sadong  Dayaks,  and  interfered  at 
Lingga  and  Serikei,  and  had  even  proceeded  so  far  as  to 
assume  the  insignia  of  royalty  by  displaying  a  yellow  (the 
royal  colour)  flag  and  unfurling  a  yellow  umbrella.  He  was 
then,  in  November  1853,  brought  up  in  Court,  publicly 
reprimanded,  and  made  to  disgorge  his  plunder.  He  sub- 
mitted with  outward  tokens  of  good -will,  but  he  had  been 
publicly  disgraced,  and  this  he  did  not  forget.  His  feeling 
against  the  Government  of  the  White  Man  became  more 
intensely  bitter. 

Early  in  1854,  the  Rajah  and  Captain  Brooke,  the  Tuan 
Besar,  went  up  the  Batang  Lupar  river  to  visit  the  Tuan 
Muda  at  Lingga,  and  Brereton  at  Sekrang ;  Mr.  Spenser 
St.  John  was  then  at  Kuching.      This  latter  says  : — 

One  day,  whilst  sitting  alone  in  my  little  cottage,  the  eldest  son 
of  the  Temanggong,  Abang  Patah,  came  in  to  have  a  talk.  He  was 
one  of  the  best  of  the  Malay  chiefs — frank,  loyal,  honest,  brave  as 
a  lion.  He  subsequently  lost  his  life  gallantly  defending  the  Rajah's 
Government.1     I   saw   by   his   manner  that   he   had   something   to 

1  This  is  incorrect.      On  more  than  one  occasion  he  greatly  distinguished  himself 

P 


210  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

communicate,  so  after  answering  a  few  leading  questions  he  said, 
"  It  is  no  use  beating  about  the  bush,  I  must  tell  you  what  is  going 
on."  He  then  unfolded  the  particulars  of  a  plot  which  the  Patinggi 
( iapur  had  concocted  to  cut  off  the  Europeans  in  Sarawak.  The 
Patinggi  had  confided  his  plans  to  the  other  chiefs,  but  they  had 
almost  unanimously  refused  to  aid  him,  and  had  determined  to  keep 
a  watch  over  his  proceedings,  but  they  had  not  the  moral  courage  to 
denounce  him  to  the  Government.  At  length  Abang  Patah  said, 
"  I  have  become  alarmed.  The  Rajah  and  Captain  Brooke  are 
away  together.  The  Patinggi  is  with  them  with  all  his  armed 
followers,  and  in  an  unsuspecting  moment  all  the  British  officers 
might  be  cut  off  at  a  blow."  I  promised,  as  he  desired,  to  keep  his 
communication  a  secret  from  all  but  the  Rajah,  to  whom  I  instantly 
wrote,  giving  not  only  Patah's  story,  but  other  indications  which  had 
come  to  my  knowledge.  An  express  boat  carried  my  letter  to  its 
destination.  The  Rajah  read  the  letter,  and,  without  a  word,  passed 
it  to  Captain  Brooke.  The  latter,  having  also  read  it,  said,  "What 
do  you  think  ?  "  "  It  is  all  too  true,"  answered  the  Rajah,  to  whom 
conviction  came  like  an  inspiration.  They  had  noticed  some  very  odd 
proceedings  on  the  part  of  the  Patinggi,  but,  having  no  suspicions, 
had  not  been  able  to  interpret  some  of  his  armed  movements,  but 
now  it  was  quite  clear  that  he  was  trying  to  get  the  Europeans 
together  to  strike  one  treacherous  blow.  Nothing,  however,  was 
said  or  done  publicly.  The  faithful  were  warned  to  watch  well,  and 
a  few  judicious  inquiries  brought  the  whole  story  out. 

The  Commission  had  been  despatched  to  sit  at  Singapore, 
on  the  conduct  of  the  Rajah.  Gapur  was  well  aware  that 
the  British  Government  was  indisposed  to  support  the 
Rajah,  and  that  there  existed  a  body  of  opinion  in  England 
distinctly  and  bitterly  hostile  to  him,  and  certain  to 
apologise  for  any  insurrectionary  movement  made  to  depose 
him,  even  if  it  involved,  as  Gapur  supposed,  his  being 
massacred  along  with  his  English  officers. 

Mr.  St.  John  goes  on  to  say  that  upon  his  return  to  Ku- 
ching  the  Rajah  intended  to  bring  the  Patinggi  to  justice  for 
this  contemplated  act  of  treachery  ;  but  this  was  not  done 
immediately.  Before  publicly  convicting  and  punishing 
the  leading  chief  of  the  State,  amongst  whose  relations  the 
Rajah  could  count  so  many  staunch  friends,  it  was  thought 
advisable  to  wait  for  some  overt  act  which  would  afford 
clear  and  convincing  proof  to  all  of  the  Datu'.s  treachery. 

fighting  for  iln'  Government,  especially  at  the  time  of  the  Chinese   insurrection,  but 
!  a  natural  death. 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  211 

The  Rajah  had  not  long  to  wait.  Towards  the  close 
of  June  he  appointed  chiefs  over  the  various  kampongs 
(districts)  in  Kuching,  each  to  be  responsible  for  the  good 
order  of  his  kampong,  and  with  power  to  arrest  evil-doers. 
These  chiefs  had  been  given  their  commissions  publicly  in 
Court ;  however,  the  Datu  Patinggi  promptly  summoned 
them  to  his  house,  exacted  the  surrender  of  their  commissions 
into  his  hands,  and  dismissed  them  with  the  remark  that  he 
was  not  going  to  allow  everybody  to  be  made  a  datu.  This 
was  open  and  public  defiance,  and  the  Rajah  then  deter- 
mined to  disgrace  him  publicly. 

Measures  were  taken  to  prevent  even  a  show  of  resist- 
ance being  made.  Though  Gapur  was  head  of  the  party  that 
existed  in  favour  of  Bruni,  and  of  a  restoration  to  the  old 
condition  of  affairs,  yet  in  Kuching  he  had  but  few 
adherents  upon  whom  he  could  safely  rely,  even  amongst 
his  own  people  ;  but  Malays  when  forced  into  a  corner  often 
resort  to  desperate  deeds  of  folly,  and  it  was  to  guard 
against  such  an  act  that  precautions  were  taken. 

In  a  letter  the  Rajah  describes  both  Gapur  and  what 
his  proceedings  were  : — 

As  he  got  rich  there  was  no  keeping  him  straight.  His  abuse 
of  power,  his  oppression  of  the  people,  his  revival  of  ancient  evils, 
his  pretensions,  his  intrigues,  and  his  free  use  of  my  name  for 
purposes  of  his  own,  had  been  often  checked  but  never  abandoned, 
and  ever  recurring.  Some  time  ago  he  was  seriously  warned,  and 
made  to  disgorge  some  of  his  ill-gotten  wealth ;  but  this,  instead  of 
preventing  him,  only  urged  him  forward,  and  he  not  only  intrigued 
against  the  Government,  but  by  threatening  the  better  class  of 
Sarawak  people,  thwarted  our  measures,  and  used  language  which 
was  treasonable  against  every  constituted  authority. 

I  resolved,  therefore,  at  once  to  degrade  him  from  his  office,  so 
as  to  crush  the  seeds  of  discontent  in  the  bud.  I  ordered  a  great 
public  meeting  of  the  country  for  an  important  business,  but,  except- 
ing Captain  Brooke,  St.  John,  the  Datu  Bandar,  Datu  Temanggong, 
and  a  few  others,  no  one  in  the  country  knew  my  object.  The 
court  was  crowded,  many  hundreds  being  present.  I  gently  ex- 
plained the  duty  of  the  people  towards  the  Government.  I  alluded 
to  the  past,  the  present  happiness  of  all  classes,  and  the  crime 
committed  by  any  one  who  failed  in  obedience  to  constituted 
authority,  or  desired  to  disturb  the  public  peace.      I   pointed  out 


212  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

to  the  elders  of  the  Kampongs  that,  having  received  authority  from 
the  Government,  they  should  not  have  yielded  it  to  the  Patinggi, 
but  at  the  same  time  I  acquitted  them  of  all  evil  intention,  and 
declared — which  was  strictly  true — that  I  knew  their  attachment 
to  the  Government. 

I  then  turned  to  the  Patinggi,  I  reminded  him  of  the  past,  the 
warnings  he  had  received  and  neglected.  Idetailed  the  charges 
against  him,  and  concluded  by  saying,  "  I  accuse  you  before  the 
people  of  treason,  and  I  give  you  the  option  of  publicly  declaring 
your  submission  to  the  Government  or  of  death."  He  submitted. 
I  then  said,  "  I  do  not  seek  your  life,  for  you  are  the  Bandar's 
brother,1  and  have  many  relatives  my  friends.  I  do  not  confiscate 
your  property,  for  your  wives  and  children  have  not  shared  your 
offence.  For  the  safety  of  the  Kingdom  I  order  you  to  sit  in  your 
place  in  this  court,  whilst  proper  persons  bring  to  the  fort  all  the 
arms  and  ammunition  which  belong  to  you."  He  sat  quiet.  I 
requested  his  relatives  to  go  and  bring  the  guns  and  powder,  and, 
after  a  couple  of  hours,  the  things  were  brought.  I  then  shook 
hands  with  the  culprit,  told  him  what  I  had  done  was  for  the  good 
of  the  people,  and  that  he  should  hear  further  from  me  through  the 
proper  channel.      He  then  returned  to  his  house. 

There  was  still  a  difficulty  to  be  overcome,  how  to  get 
rid  of  him.  The  Rajah  bethought  himself  of  proposing  a 
pilgrimage  to  Mecca,  and  Gapur  jumped  at  it.  This  would 
remove  him  from  Sarawak  for  some  time,  and,  before  his 
return,  it  was  hoped  his  influence  would  be  broken,  and  his 
opportunities  of  doing  mischief  be  removed,  through  his 
position  being  given  to  his  brother-in-law,  the  Datu  Bandar." 
The  Bandar's  brother  was  made  the  Imaum,  the  head  of  the 
Muhammadan  priesthood,  and  was  added  to  the  list  of  the 
Rajah's  trusted  councillors.  He  remained  true  and  a  main- 
stay to  English  influence  among  the  Malays  in  subsequent 
difficult  times.3  As  to  Gapur,  on  his  return  in  1856  from 
Mecca,  now  a  Haji,  he  was  repudiated  by  his  relations,  who 
refused  to  be  responsible  for  his  conduct,  so  that  he  had  to 
be  banished  to  Malacca.  We  shall  hear  of  him  again,  but 
for  the  moment  must  look  at  the  proceedings  of  the  Sherip 
Masahor,  whose  brother  had  married  the  daughter  of  Gapur. 

1  An  error — he  was  the  Bandar's  brother-in-law. 

'-'  He  did  not  change  his  title.     There  has  been  do  Datu  Patinggi  since. 

:;  Haji  Bua  Hasan,  who  afterwards  became  Datu  Bandar  (vide  Chap.  III.  p.  --). 
It  was  not  until  i860  that  he  was  raised  to  the  rank  of  Datu  under  the  title  of  the 
Datu  Imaum. 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  213 

Muka  was  then  a  town  of  considerable  importance,  at 
the  mouth  of  the  river  of  that  name.  It  has  since  increased 
considerably,  and  is  now  as  large  as  Bruni.  Then,  as 
now,  it  had  a  great  trade  in  raw  sago,  which  is  shipped 
to  Kuching,  where  it  is  converted  into  sago  flour  in  the 
Chinese  factories,  in  which  form  it  passes  to  Singapore. 
Oya  comes  next  in  importance,  then  Bintulu,  and  then 
Matu  and  Bruit.  These  places  supply  more  than  half  the 
world's  consumption  of  sago.  The  trade  in  this  had  always 
been  the  principal  one  of  Kuching  until  a  few  years  ago, 
when  pepper  took  the  first  place,  but  the  sago  trade  is  still 
increasing. 

For  years  past  numerous  trading  vessels  from  Kuching 
visited  Muka  to  obtain  this  article  of  commerce,  but  in 
1854  much  difficulty  had  been  felt  in  getting  it,  as  at  that 
time  civil  war  was  raging,  and  anarchy  existed  in  Muka,  so 
that  trading  vessels  were  debarred  from  entering  the  river, 
being  liable  to  plunder  by  one  party  or  the  other. 

The  Pangiran  Ersat  had  been  placed  there  in  authority 
by  the  Sultan,  and  he  had  oppressed  the  people  incessantly. 
But  beside  him  there  was  the  Pangiran  Matusin,  his  cousin, 
also  of  royal  blood,  who  had  been  brought  up  among  the 
Muka  people,  where  he  had  many  relations  through  his 
mother,  who  was  of  inferior  class.  A  feud  had  long  existed 
between  these  two  Pangirans,  both  of  whose  houses  were 
fortified.  Ersat  had  expelled  his  cousin  from  Muka,  but  the 
latter  had  been  allowed  by  the  Sultan  to  return. 

Matusin,  though  unprincipled  himself,1  could  not  counte- 
nance the  extortions  of  the  other,  and  he  supported  his  own 
people  against  the  injustice  of  his  rival. 

1  His  was  a  turbulent  nature  ;  a  useful  man  in  the  time  of  trouble,  but  apt  to  be 
troublesome  in  the  time  of  peace.  He  had  some  fine  qualities,  being  brave  and 
staunch,  but  even  his  best  friend  could  not  have  called  him  honest.  A  well-built 
muscular  man,  never  ruffled,  and  utterly  impervious  to  fear,  but  somewhat  cold- 
blooded— he  was  covered  with  the  marks  of  old  wounds.  When  Muka  fort  was 
built,  he  was  appointed  to  be  native  Magistrate  under  the  Resident,  but  he  was 
removed  in  1868,  being  unprincipled,  dishonest,  and  unjust  (to  quote  the  present 
Rajah).  He  was  invaluable  in  dealing  with  the  turbulent  Dayaks  in  the  upper  waters 
of  the  Rejang,  as  they  absolutely  feared  him,  but  he  could  not  keep  his  hands  clean, 
and  had  to  be  removed  from  Baleh  in  1876,  when  he  was  pensioned  and  placed  out  of 
harm's  way  at  a  little  village  near  Santubong.  He  was  a  staunch  supporter  of 
Government  and  a  hard  fighter  in  helping  to  maintain  it  ;  he  died  some  twenty  years 
ago. 


214  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

On  one  occasion,  as  Matusin  was  returning  home  from 
the  river  mouth,  he  passed  the  abode  of  Ersat,  when  this 
latter,  with  his  followers  and  relatives,  mocked  him  from 
the  platform  in  front  of  the  long  house,  brandishing  their 
spears  and  daring  him  to  attack  them.  Matusin  was  filled 
with  rage.  Of  all  things  that  a  Malay  can  least  endure 
is  insult.  Seizing  his  arms,  he  rushed  into  the  house, 
and,  running  amuck,  cut  down  Ersat  himself,  and,  in  the 
promiscuous  onslaught  that  followed,  killed  one  of  the 
Pangiran's  daughters  and  wounded  another.  He  then  made 
his  way  forth,  no  one  daring  to  oppose  him,  as  he  was  a 
man  of  prodigious  strength.  On  reaching  his  house,  he 
strengthened  the  fortifications  and  prepared  for  an  attack. 
In  the  course  of  a  month,  a  large  force  had  assembled  in 
Muka  to  avenge  the  death  of  Pangiran  Ersat,  led  by  the 
Sherip  Masahor,  who  had  called  out  the  Saribas  Dayaks, 
under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak,  as  well  as 
the  Kanowit  Dayaks  on  the  Rejang.  They  numbered  more 
than  a  thousand,  exclusive  of  Malays. 

This  host  surrounded  the  fortified  house  of  Matusin,  and 
Masahor,  in  the  name  of  the  Rajah,  called  upon  the  former 
to  surrender.  He  undertook,  if  Matusin  and  his  followers 
would  come  forth,  with  all  the  women  and  children,  and 
give  themselves  up,  that  their  lives  would  not  only  be  spared, 
but  that  thenceforth  they  should  all  dwell  together  in  amity. 
It  was  agreed  that  this  was  to  take  place  on  the  following 
morning.  But  during  the  night  a  member  of  Masahor's 
party  managed  to  get  into  the  house  of  Matusin  to  warn 
him  that  treachery  was  intended,  and  to  urge  him  to  escape. 
This  Matusin  did  in  the  dark,  attended  by  six  men  only  ; 
he  fled  up  country,  and  made  his  way  to  Kuching,  where  he 
threw  himself  on  the  protection  of  the  Rajah.  Xext  day 
Sherip  Masahor,  with  his  ruffians,  took  most  who  remained 
in  Matusin's  house,  and  many  of  the  relations  of  the  Muka 
chiefs  who  had  supported  him,  to  the  number  of  forty-five, 
chiefly  women,  massacred  every  one,  and  gave  their  heads  to 
his  Saribas  and  Kanowit  followers.  As  soon  as  the  news 
reached  Kuching,  the  Tuan  Muda  was  sent  to  Muka  to 
inquire    into    matters.      He    says:    "The    scene    where    the 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  215 

murders  took  place  was  then  fresh  with  the  marks  of  the 
slaughtered  wretches.  Their  torn  clothes,  the  traces  of  blood 
and  tracks  of  feet,  were  plainly  visible  on  the  ground.  In 
pulling  up  through  the  Muka  village,  most  of  the  houses 
were  burnt  down,  and  the  graveyards  pillaged  by  Dayaks." 
Melanaus  adorn  their  dead  with  costly  gold  ornaments,  which 
are  buried  with  the  bodies  ;  this  the  Dayaks  knew  ;  to 
attain  these  and  the  heads  of  the  dead  were  their  object  in 
desecrating  the  graves. 

The  people  had  lost  their  favourite  leader  and  relative, 
Pangiran  Matusin  ;  besides  relations  they  had  lost  their 
homes  and  property,  burnt  and  pillaged  by  Masahor's 
followers  on  the  ground  that  the  owners  had  favoured  the 
slayer  of  Pangiran  Ersat,  and  they  were  well  aware  that 
they  themselves  were  doomed,  and  all  would  most  surely 
have  been  put  to  death  but  for  the  arrival  of  the  Tuan  Muda. 
And  now  the  poor  creatures  surrounded  him,  and  implored 
that  an  Englishman  might  be  sent  to  govern  the  place, 
and  deliver  them  from  the  tyranny  of  the  Bruni  officials. 
Having  seen  to  the  safety  of  Matusin's  wife  and  children, 
who,  with  other  surviving  relations  and  followers,  were  sent 
to  Kuching,  the  Tuan  Muda  returned  to  Sekrang.  A  fine 
was  imposed  on  Sherip  Masahor,  and  he  was  forced  to 
release  100  captives,  and  was  deposed  from  his  governorship 
for  having  called  out  the  Saribas  under  Sarawak  rule  for  war- 
like purposes.  He  was  in  league  with  the  piratical  party  in 
the  Saribas,  and  not  only  supplied  them  with  salt,  which  is  an 
absolute  necessity  to  a  Dayak,  and  which  it  was  now  difficult 
to  obtain  on  the  Sarawak  side,  where  the  markets  were  closed 
to  them,  but  also  with  ammunition,  and  in  other  ways 
encouraged  them  in  their  opposition  to  the  Government.  He 
left  Serikei  immediately,  fearing  further  consequences. 

A  party  of  malcontent  Saribas  Dayaks  had  been  induced 
by  the  Sherip  to  settle  in  the  Serikei  river,  to  be  handy  agents 
for  the  execution  of  his  oppressive  exactions,  and  the  intrepid 
Penglima  Seman  was  sent  by  the  Rajah  to  drive  them  out. 
This  he  did  very  effectually,  and  destroyed  their  houses  and 
stores.  Shortly  afterwards  the  Datu  Temanggong  and  the 
Datu     Imaum    dispersed    a    flotilla    of    some   forty    Saribas 


216  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

bangkongs   which   they   had    met   in   the   main    river  below 
Serikei. 

The  unsatisfactory  condition  of  affairs  in  the  Muka  and 
adjacent  districts  led  the  Rajah  to  pay  another  visit  to  Brum", 
and  thither  he  sailed  in  June,  1855,  after  having  despatched 
the  Tuan  Muda  to  Muka.  He  went  up  in  his  little  gun- 
boat, the  Jolly  Bachelor,  alone,  and  with  no  retinue,  no 
longer  holding  high  offices  under  the  Crown,  "  the  castaway 
of  his  own  country."  But  he  was  most  cordially  received, 
and  entertained  with  due  honours  by  the  Sultan,  by  the 
Rajahs  of  both  the  hostile  factions,  and  by  the  people.  All 
saw  in  the  Rajah  the  possible  instrument  to  relieve  them  of 
the  dissensions  with  which  Bruni  was  troubled,  and  which 
now  verged  upon  civil  war.  Of  the  opposing  factions,  which 
had  existed  ever  since  the  days  of  Pangiran  Usop,  one  party, 
and  by  far  the  most  powerful,  was  led  by  the  Pangiran  Anak 
Hasim,  the  late  Sultan's  reputed  son  (who  became  Sultan  in 
1885),  and  this  party  was  in  opposition  to  the  Sultan,  who 
had  lost  the  support  of  nearly  all  his  people  by  becoming  the 
tool  of  his  cunning  and  grasping  minister,  Pangiran  Makota. 
"Trade  had  become  a  monopoly  and  thus  been  extinguished  ; 
the  exactions  on  the  coast  to  the  northward  had  produced 
dissatisfaction  and  rebellion  ;  the  unfortunate  people  of 
Limbang,  which  country  is  the  granary  of  Bruni,  was 
reduced  to  extremity,  cruelly  plundered  by  Makota  and  his 
sons,  and  attacked  by  the  Kayans,  sometimes  at  the  instigation 
of  Makota,  sometimes  on  their  own  account  ;  in  short,  what 
Sarawak  was  formerly,  Bruni  was  now  fast  becoming  ;  and 
when  I  pulled  into  the  city  in  my  little  gun-boat  of  thirty- 
five  tons,  four  of  the  Kampongs  had  their  guns  loaded  and 
pointed  against  each  other."  Such  was  the  unhappy  con- 
dition of  the  country  as  described  by  the  Rajah. 

The  day  after  his  coming  the  rival  parties  disarmed  their 
fortifications.  The  Sultan  and  the  Rajahs  placed  the 
government  in  his  hands,  with  a  request  that  he  would 
endeavour  to  establish  it  on  a  proper  and  firm  basis,  and 
promised  obedience  to  all  his  directions. 

Makota  was  absent,  having  been  ordered  by  the  Sultan 
to  Muka  to  look   into  matters  there,  which   meant  that  he 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  217 

had  been  sent  to  plunder  the  people  of  that  and  the 
neighbouring  districts,  but,  though  it  angered  the  Rajah,  it 
rendered  his  task  the  easier. 

Makota  was  now  the  sole  minister,  and  the  Rajah  arranged 
that  the  old  executive  system  should  be  restored  so  as  to 
counterbalance  his  influence.  The  offices  of  the  four 
ministers  of  State,  or  wazirs,  established  by  the  ninth  Sultan 
Hasan,  early  in  the  seventeenth  century,  were  revived  ; 
these  were  the  Temanggong,  the  Bandahara,  the  di  Gedong, 
and  the  Pemancha.  Though  of  ancient  origin,  by  the 
will  of  autocratic  Sultans  they  had  been  in  abeyance 
for  many  years,  and  their  revival  gave  confidence  to  nobles 
and  people  alike.      They  were  never  allowed  again  to  lapse. 

Besides  the  above-mentioned  functionaries,  there  are 
eight  ministers  of  the  second  class,  all  nobles  ;  and  lastly,  a 
council  of  twelve  officers  of  state,  chosen  from  among  the 
leading  people,  the  chiefs  of  the  different  divisions  or 
parishes  of  the  city.  These  chiefs  being  elected  by  the 
people  renders  this  council  representative. 

Pangiran  Anak  Hasim  became  the  Pangiran  Temanggong. 
Though  stern,  he  was  popular,  governed  well  and  fairly,  and 
encouraged  trade.  His  only  brother,  the  other  doubtful  son 
of  Sultan  Omar  AH,  was  made  the  Pamancha.  Now  that  the 
Rajah  had  succeeded  in  reconciling  the  hostile  factions,  he 
trusted  that  the  Pangiran  Temanggong,  with  the  assistance 
of  the  other  wazirs,  supported  by  his  own  pledge  to  uphold 
them,  with  force  if  necessary,  against  all  disturbers  of  peace, 
would  be  able  to  preserve  the  Sultan  from  the  evil  influence  of 
Makota  ;  indeed  the  Sultan  had  a  desire  to  act  rightly,  and 
his  disposition  was  not  altogether  bad,  but  avariciousness 
was  his  failing,  and  the  means  by  which  his  evil  counsellors 
gained  his  ear. 

The  Rajah  was  pressed  to  take  up  his  residence  in  Bruni, 
and,  could  he  have  done  so,  all  might  have  gone  well,  but 
he  could  not  hope  that  his  present  intervention  would 
do  more  than  postpone  the  downfall  of  the  worn-out  and 
vicious  Government,  for  the  elements  of  discord  and  decay 
were  rife.  And  directly  his  back  was  turned  the  Sultan 
failed  him.      He  set  aside  the  advice  of  his  wazirs,  and,  to 


218  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

gratify  his  greed,  upheld  Makota.  He  had  promised  that 
this  man  should  be  recalled  from  Muka,  but,  instead  of  doing 
so,  gave  him  a  free  hand  to  deal  with  the  wretched  people  as 
he  pleased — to  plunder  for  both  himself  and  his  master. 
The  Rajah  then  determined  himself  "  to  manage  Makota, 
and  to  leave  the  Sultan  to  rue  his  own  folly "  ;  the  two 
factions  in  Bruni  he  trusted  "  would  join  together  to  resist 
oppression,  or,  at  any  rate,  forbear  with  each  other." 

Early  in  1856,  the  Tuan  Muda  went  with  a  force  from 
Kuching  to  erect  a  fort  at  Serikei,  now  deserted  by  Masahor, 
and  half  burnt  down  by  the  Dayaks.  This  was  soon  built, 
and  an  Englishman  was  placed  in  charge,  who  was  shortly 
afterwards  replaced  by  Mr.  Fox.  The  Dayaks  around  were 
numerous  and  hostile.  The  Tuan  Muda  found  that  "  in  all 
directions  around  Serikei  and  Kanowit  there  were  enemies." 
Some  few  came  to  trade,  but  refused  to  pay  revenue  or  obey 
the  orders  of  the  officials.  They  lived  in  independence,  and 
the  two  branches  of  Dayak  employment  were  simply  heads 
and  salt.  "  As  these  two  requirements  could  not  be  found 
in  the  same  quarter,  they  in  former  times  usually  made  peace 
with  one  petty  Malay  chief  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  salt, 
while  the  heads  were  brought  from  some  other  petty  Malay 
chiefs  village  lying  in  another  direction.  By  this  means 
the  Malays  obtained  a  trade  with  Dayaks  as  well  as  a 
following." 

The  imposition  of  a  fine  on  Masahor  and  the  erection  of 
a  fort  at  Serikei  may  have  been  regarded  as  an  infringement 
of  the  rights  of  the  Sultan.  There  existed,  however,  an 
understanding  between  the  Sultan  and  the  Rajah  in  respect 
to  the  Rejang,  the  main  object  of  which  was,  so  far  as  the 
former  was  concerned,  that  the  sago  districts  should  be 
protected  from  the  ravages  of  the  Rejang  Dayaks.  The 
Sultan  Mumin,  a  poor,  feeble  creature,  was  totally  incapable 
of  keeping  these  unruly  subjects  of  his  in  check,  and  the 
Rajah  undertook  to  do  it  for  him.  It,  of  course,  followed 
that  the  Rajah  had  authority  over,  and  a  right  to  punish, 
these  people.  Kanowit  fort  and  then  Serikei  were  erected 
to  keep  the  Dayaks  and  Sherip  Masahor  in  check.  All  that 
was  done  was  done  in   the   mutual   interests  of  Bruni   and 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  219 

Sarawak,  and  at  the  sole  expense  of  the  latter,  for  the  Rejang 
in  those  days  yielded  no  revenue. 

The  house  of  Ucalegon  was  in  flames,  and  the  fire  would 
extend  to  Sarawak,  unless  it  were  extinguished  by  Sarawak 
hands,  for  their  own  protection. 

Muka  and  Oya,  where  Pangiran  Nipa  had  succeeded 
his  father,  Pangiran  Ersat,  in  power,  being  still  in  a  very 
distracted  condition,  and  the  Rajah,  now  being  free  of  the 
troubles  that  had  shaken  the  very  foundations  of  his  own 
Government,  and  which  had  unavoidably  withdrawn  his 
attention  from  these  places,  determined  to  make  another 
effort  to  establish  order  there  in  the  interests  of  the  suffering 
population,  and  of  the  important  trade  between  those  places 
and  Sarawak,  which  had  now  almost  ceased.  For  this 
purpose  he  again  proceeded  to  Bruni  in  September,  1857, 
and  obtained  full  power  to  act  at  Muka,  and  authority  to 
intervene  was  granted  him.  At  Muka  the  Rajah  called 
together  into  his  presence  the  rival  factions  which  had  been 
murdering  each  other,  and  disturbing  the  trade  for  the  last 
four  years.  There  were  four  hundred  persons  present,  includ- 
ing the  Pangirans  Matusin  and  Nipa,  besides  the  chiefs  of 
the  country,  whose  relatives  had  been  put  to  death  by  Sherip 
Masahor.  The  chaps x — the  Sultan's  mandates — were  read, 
ordering  peace,  and  authorising  the  Rajah  to  punish  any 
breach  of  it.  The  Rajah  then  spoke  to  the  people,  pointing 
out  the  advantage  of  peace,  and  pledging  himself  to  punish 
any  persons  who  by  their  actions  should  disturb  it.  This 
visit  of  the  Rajah  was  attended  with  good  results,  and  Muka 
enjoyed  rest  for  a  brief  period. 

In  October,  the  Rajah  proceeded  to  England,  leaving  the 
government  in  the  hands  of  the  Tuan  Besar  ;  upon  this  visit, 
which  was  of  necessity  a  prolonged  one,  owing  to  the  complete 
breakdown  of  his  health,  we  will  touch  later. 

The  month  following  the  Rajah's  departure,  Pangiran 
Makota  was  violently  removed  from  the  scene  of  his  life's 
iniquities.  We  have  already  recorded  the  manner  of  his 
well-merited  death.'"'      Of  him  the   Rajah  wrote,  "  A  greater 

1  Chap  (Hindustani)  meaning  a  seal.      Hence  a  firman,  edict,  licence,  grant. 
2  See  Chap.  III.  p.  87. 


220  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

villain  it  would  be  impossible  to  conceive,  with  heart  blacker, 
head  more  cunning,  and  passions  more  unrestrained.  I  say 
this  deliberately  of  a  dead  man."      A  fitting  epitaph. 

In  December,  Mrs.  Brooke  died,  and  the  Tuan  Besar  left 
for  England  early  in  1859.  Upon  the  Tuan  Muda  now  fell 
the  burden  of  the  government  at  perhaps  the  most  critical 
period  in  the  history  of  the  raj.  Plot  was  heaped  upon 
plot,  and  deceit  and  treachery  faced  him  on  all  sides,  but 
by  his  courage,  untiring  energy,  and  determination  the 
State  was  successfully  piloted  through  these  grave  troubles, 
its  enemies  dispersed,  and  confidence  restored  to  a  panic- 
stricken  people. 

Two  years  previously,  Sherip  Masahor  and  the  Datu 
Patinggi  Haji  Gapur,  now  known  as  the  Datu  Haji,  had  been 
pardoned.  The  former  had  been  allowed  to  return  to  Serikei, 
and  the  latter  to  live  in  retirement  at  Kuching.  It  was  a 
mistaken  and  highly  imprudent  policy,  for  neither  had 
forgotten  his  humiliation,  and  both  commenced  active  intrigue 
against  the  Government ;  and  the  party  of  pangirans  at  Bruni, 
hostile  to  all  reforms,  were  privy  to  these  plots,  of  which  the 
Sultan  himself  was  aware,  and  at  which  he  probably  connived. 
Constant  intercourse  was  being  kept  up  between  the  Sultans 
of  Bruni  and  Sambas,  which  could  omen  no  good  to  Sarawak  ; 
and  Bruni  alone,  now  once  more  relapsed  into  its  former  evil 
condition,  was  without  the  means  of  open  aggression. 

In  1859,  the  Europeans  in  Sarawak  were  startled  by  a 
report  of  the  wholesale  massacre  of  Europeans,  men,  women, 
and  children,  at  Banjermasin,  succeeded  by  further  reports 
that  all  white  men  were  being  killed  in  the  other  Dutch 
settlements,  and  that  the  same  fate  was  to  be  meted  out  to 
those  in  Sarawak  and  Labuan. 

In  March,  the  Tuan  Muda,  owing  to  disquieting  rumours 
having  reached  him,  resolved  upon  making  a  tour  to  the 
different  stations  on  the  coast,  and  first  visited  the  Rejang. 
At  Serikei  he  was  joined  by  Mr.  Fox,  and  then  proceeded 
to  Kanowit,  a  hundred  miles  up  the  broad  Rejang  river. 
The  village  and  fort  together  formed  a  picturesque  piece 
of  irregularity  and  dilapidation.  Here  were  settled  a  few 
Malays,  a  gang  of  cut-throats  who  lived   by  swindling  the 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  221 

Dayaks,  and  stood  by  the  fort  as  their  only  means  of  security. 
Some  few  Chinese  traders  had  ventured  to  settle  in  the  place, 
but  they  were  a  mob  of  rapscallions.  Above  the  village  was 
the  mouth  of  the  Kanowit  river,  and  on  the  opposite  bank 
of  this  river  was  the  large  village  of  the  Kanowit  tribe, 
adherents  of  Sherip  Masahor.  The  Kanowit,  as  well  as  the 
Poi  and  Ngmah,  two  branches  of  the  main  river  above 
Kanowit,  was  inhabited  by  Sea-Dayaks  from  the  Batang 
Lupar  and  Saribas,  unfriendly  to  the  Government.  Mr. 
Steele  had  been  in  charge  of  Kanowit  for  eight  years.  It 
was  a  vastly  solitary  place  for  an  Englishman  during  the 
north-east  monsoon.  For  three  or  four  months  of  the  year 
no  communication  was  to  be  had  with  Kuching,  owing  to  the 
strong  freshes  and  heavy  seas  on  the  coast ;  but  Mr.  Steele 
had  grown  so  accustomed  to  the  life  that  he  would  not  have 
exchanged  it  for  another.  The  fort  had  been  often  attempted 
both  secretly  and  openly,  people  close  around  had  been  killed, 
and  Mr.  Steele  had  met  with  several  narrow  escapes.  His 
fortmen  were  not  of  the  best  class,  but  they  were  of  his  own 
selection.  The  Tuan  Muda  felt  uneasy  about  the  place. 
"  There  was  too  smooth  an  appearance,  without  any  sub- 
stantial base."  There  were  no  reliable  Malay  chiefs  ;  and 
he  left  Mr.  Fox  to  support  Mr.  Steele. 

On  his  return  to  Serikei,  the  Tuan  Muda  received  letters 
from  the  Sarawak  traders  at  Muka  saying  that  it  was  use- 
less their  attempting  to  procure  sago  there,  as  the  country 
was  in  commotion,  war  being  carried  on  between  Pangiran 
Matusin  and  Pangiran  Nipa,  and  they  entreated  his  support 
and  aid  ;  otherwise  the  trade  must  be  stopped.  Not  only  so, 
but  the  Sarawak  flag  had  been  fired  on  by  a  badly-disposed 
pangiran.  This  was  an  insult  that  could  not  be  passed 
over,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  at  once  proceeded  to  Muka  in  the 
Jolly  BacJielor.  As  he  passed  Igan,  the  Sherip  Masahor,  who 
had  a  residence  there  also,  pushed  off  and  asked  leave  to 
join  him.  His  object  was  not  obvious,  but  he  protested 
sincere  friendship,  and  a  desire  to  see  trade  re-established. 

On  reaching  Muka  it  was  found  that  the  place  was  in  a 
most  disturbed  state,  and  that  everybody  was  armed.  A 
demand  was  at   once   made   that    Pangiran    Serail,  who   had 


222  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

fired  on  the  Sarawak   flag,  should  be  fined,  and  to  this  the 
Pangiran  Nipa  consented. 

Towards  the  close  of  the  day,  a  message  came  from  Pangiran 
Matusin  begging  me  to  proceed  to  his  assistance  as  soon  as  possible, 
as  that  night  there  was  some  probability  of  Nipa's  party  taking  his 
fortification,  which  was  defended  by  twenty-six  men  only  against 
about  six  hundred,  who  had  built  movable  stockades  all  around, 
and  were  gradually  closing  on  him  each  night,  and  were  now  within 
about  fourteen  yards  of  his  house.  We  warped  up  and  arrived 
late  at  night,  and  let  go  our  anchor  off  Matusin's  landing-place. 
It  was  the  27th  night  of  the  Mahomedan  fast  month,  and  the  place 
being  brilliantly  illuminated,  blazed  out  as  strange  a  looking  pile  of 
fortifications  and  habitations  as  it  has  ever  fallen  to  my  lot  to 
witness.  Matusin  came  aboard  and  showed  his  gratitude  more  by 
manner  than  by  words.  He  was  thin  and  haggard,  and  said,  "  Tuan, 
I  thought  I  should  have  been  a  dead  man  to-night,  as  they  intended 
adding  to  the  illumination  by  the  blaze  of  my  house,  but  I  did  not 
fear  death,  and  would  never  have  run  away/' 

On  the  first  appearance  of  light  we  were  all  up,  and  ready  to 
proceed  to  work,  in  order  to  have  the  business  over  as  soon  as 
possible.  Our  gunboat's  deck  was  crowded  with  armed  men,  and 
the  bulwarks  were  closed  in  around  by  oars  and  logwood.  The 
first  step  we  took  was  to  dislodge  a  floating  battery,  placed  so  as  to 
guard  Matusin's  landing.  After  destroying  this  I  sent  a  party  to 
pull  down  the  other  stockades,  numbering  some  twenty-five  of  all 
shapes  and  sizes.  Pangiran  Matusin's  fort  was  being  pulled  down 
also,  and  before  mid-day  there  was  a  clearance  and  change  in  the 
aspect  of  affairs. 

Excuses  were  then  made  for  the  payment  of  the  fine. 
The  gunboat  was  promptly  hauled  up  in  front  of  Pangiran 
Nipa's  house,  "  and  the  muzzle  of  our  6-pounder  was  look- 
ing upwards  loaded  and  primed.  It  would  have  been  close 
quarters  if  we  had  played  with  fire-arms,  as  we  could  jump 
from  the  deck  to  the  banks."  The  Sherip  Masahor  was  with 
the  Tuan  Muda,  and  professed  the  most  ardent  friendship  and 
desire  to  assist.  The  fine  was  soon  paid,  and  after  seeing 
Pangiran  Matusin  safely  on  his  way  to  Kuching  the  Tuan 
Muda  left  for  Saribas. 

Trade  with  Muka  during  the  remaining  months  of  the 
year  was  brisk  ;  matters  there  settled  down  quietly  ;  and 
Pangiran  Nipa  kept  up  a  friendly  correspondence  with  the 
Tuan  Muda. 


THE   SHERIP  MASAHOR  223 

The  Pangiran  Serail,  who  had  been  fined,  was  an  envoy 
of  the  Sultan  Mumin  ;  he  returned  to  Bruni,  gave  a  plausible 
account  of  his  conduct,  and  loudly  complained  of  the 
conduct  of  the  Tuan  Muda.  The  Sultan  was  irritated,  and 
Mr.  St.  John,  who  was  now  British  Consul-General  at  Bruni, 
heard  only  Serail's  story,  and  considered  the  proceedings 
high-handed  and  reprehensible.  He  afterwards  expressed 
his  opinion  that  it  was  so  to  both  the  Tuan  Muda  and  to 
the  Rajah.  Thereupon  the  latter  ordered  the  fine  to  be 
paid  over  to  the  Sultan  "  as  a  peace  offering." 

Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  in  his  Life  of  Rajah  Brooke,  speaks 
of  the  interference  in  Muka  in  1858  and  1859  as  unjustifi- 
able, but  we  have  already  shown  that  the  Rajah  had 
received  full  authority  from  the  Sultan  to  act  in  Muka,  and 
what  was  done  was  entirely  in  the  cause  of  peace  and  order, 
though  Sir  Spenser  does  not  question  the  motives. 

In  the  following  June,  when  on  a  visit  to  Sekrang,  the 
startling  news  was  brought  to  the  Tuan  Muda  that  Steele 
and  Fox  had  been  killed,  and  that  Kanowit  was  in  the 
hands  of  enemies  and  murderers.  It  was  the  first  stroke  of 
a  foul  conspiracy,  which  had  as  its  objects  the  extermination 
of  all  the  Europeans  and  the  overthrow  of  the  Government. 
But  it  had  been  struck  too  soon.  The  aim  of  the  con- 
spirators, "  deep  and  subtle  as  men  or  devils  could  be,"  was 
to  strike  simultaneous  blows  in  Kuching  and  the  out-stations, 
and  this  premature  action  of  Sherip  Masahor's  party  before 
the  Datu  Haji  Gapur,  Bandar  Kasim,  and  other  conspirators 
were  prepared  to  act  led  to  the  original  scheme  being 
broken  up  into  disconnected  action.  This  to  some  extent 
lessened  the  difficulties  with  which  the  Tuan  Muda  found 
himself  confronted.  As  yet  he  could  but  conjecture  as  to 
the  compass  of  the  conspiracy,  and  could  only  suspect  the 
conspirators,  but  he  was  on  his  guard,  and  he  prepared  for 
the  worst. 

A  few  words  may  be  said  here  with  regard  to  the 
situation  generally,  and  the  attitude  of  the  population. 
From  Muka,  the  Sherip  Masahor,  the  friend  and  connection 
of  Pangiran  Nipa,  could  look  for  strong  support.  In  the 
Rejang  he  had  on   his  side  the  Kanowits,  the  Banyoks,  and 


224  A    HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  Segalangs,  the  last  a  hot-headed  and  treacherous  people, 
who  had  always  been  the  Sherip's  most  active  partisans,  and 
were  afterwards  his  only  sympathists  ;  upon  the  Dayaks  it 
was  naturally  thought  he  could  count,  but,  as  regards  those 
of  the  Kanowit,  events  proved  this  to  be  a  mistake  ;  amongst 
the  Melanaus  of  the  delta  he  had  a  strong  following  at  Igan, 
Matu,  and  Bruit,  but  not  at  the  other  villages  ;  and  the 
Malays  of  Serikei  feared  and  obeyed  him,  though  from 
their  chiefs  downwards  they  hated  him.  The  Kalaka 
Malays,  under  a  bad  leader,  were  very  doubtful.  Those  in 
Saribas  were  held  in  check  by  the  Dayaks,  who  had  been 
converted  by  the  Tuan  Muda  from  stout  enemies  into 
staunch  friends  ;  the  Sea-Dayaks  generally  were  as  true  as 
steel  to  their  white  chief,  though  some  were  led  astray.  The 
Sekrang  Malays  were  faithful,  but  the  Lingga  Malays  had 
allowed  themselves  to  be  awed  by  letters  that  had  been  sent 
them  by  the  conspirators,  calling  upon  them  to  assist  in  kill- 
ing the  English  or  to  expect  the  consequences.  Though  they 
received  these  letters  they  made  no  response  to  the  overtures, 
and  were  at  heart  with  the  Government.  Sadong,  where 
there  had  been  no  English  officer  for  some  time,  was,  under 
the  Bandar  Kasim,  a  hot-bed  of  anarchy,  and  here  were  the 
Datu  Haji's  principal  adherents,  as  also  were  the  Land- 
Dayaks  of  Lundu. 

In  Kuching  and  its  neighbourhood  the  Malays  were  as 
usual  loyal,  from  their  Datus,  the  Bandar,  Imaum  (whose 
sister  the  Datu  Haji  had  married)  and  the  old  fighting 
Temanggong  downwards.  Here  the  Datu  Haji  had  a  small 
clique  only,  but  men's  minds  were  becoming  disturbed  by 
the  baneful  rumours  that  were  being  sedulously  spread 
about  of  the  impending  downfall  of  the  Government.  It 
was  brought  home  to  their  minds,  and  insisted  on,  that  the 
Rajah  had  forfeited  the  confidence  of  the  British  Govern- 
ment, which  was  prepared  to  leave  him  to  his  fate.  Xo 
more  men-of-war  had  been  sent  to  Sarawak,  and  no  help 
had  been  offered  the  Rajah  for  the  suppression  of  the 
Chinese  insurrection  ;  all  this  exercised  a  bad  influence  on 
some  who  wavered,  though  at  heart  loyal,  and  it  discouraged 
the  faint-hearted,   just   as    it    encouraged   hopes   in   the  dis- 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  225 

affected  Malay  chiefs  and  the  Sherips  that  they  might 
recover  their  lost  supremacy.  Any  signal  reverse  to  the 
Government,  or  any  indecision  shown  by  it,  would  have 
produced  the  gravest  consequences,  which  must  have 
resulted,  however  the  issue  went,  in  the  ruin  of  the  country. 
The  crisis  was  critical,  and  without  a  strong  man  at  the 
helm,  disaster  would  have  followed — a  leader  to  counter- 
balance the  influence  of  the  conspirators — a  leader  for  the 
loyal  to  rally  around  and  to  inspire  the  timid,  was  wanted, 
and  was  at  hand. 

Upon  receiving  news  of  the  disaster  at  Kanowit,  after 
having  despatched  an  express  to  Mr.  Watson  in  Saribas  to  be 
strictly  on  his  guard,  the  Tuan  Muda  at  once  proceeded  to 
Kuching.  There  an  assembly  of  all  the  chiefs  and  head  men 
was  held,  and  to  them,  with  a  sword  in  front  of  him,  he 
declared  his  stern  resolution  that  there  should  be  no  haven 
for  the  murderers  of  his  officers  and  friends.  Before  he  left 
Kuching,  Abang  Ali,  of  Serikei,1  had  arrived  direct  from 
Kanowit ;  he  reported  the  whole  place  to  be  burnt  down  and 
deserted,  and  that  the  murderers  had  left  ;  and  he  was  able 
to  give  a  full  account  of  the  tragedy. 

One  afternoon,  as  Mr.  Fox  was  superintending  the 
digging  of  a  ditch,  and  Mr.  Steele  was  walking  about  inside 
the  fort,  both  unarmed,  they  were  attacked,  Steele  by  two 
men,  Abi  and  Talip,  whom  he  had  known  and  trusted,  though 
their  previous  characters  had  been  extremely  bad.  Talip 
drew  his  sword  and  struck  at  Steele,  but  the  latter,  being  an 
active  man,  seized  the  weapon,  whereupon  Abi  cut  him  down, 
killing  him  immediately. 

At  the  same  moment  a  party  of  Kanowits,  led  by  their 
chiefs,  Sawing  and  Sakalai,  rushed  out  of  a  Chinaman's  house, 
in  which  they  had  been  concealed,  and  killed  Mr.  Fox. 
Sawing  and  Sakalai  struck  the  first  blows,  followed  by  many 
others,  for  his  body  was  terribly  mutilated,  as  was  also  that  of 
Steele.      They  then  proceeded  to  rifle  the  fort,  the  garrison 

1  A  young  man  then,  and  one  of  the  well  disposed  Malay  chiefs  of  Serikei.  He 
shortly  afterwards  became  the  principal  native  officer  in  the  Rejang,  a  position  which 
he  held  until  his  death  in  1874.  He  earned  the  fullest  confidence  of  the  Government, 
and  the  respect  _not  only  of  his  own  people,  but  of  the  Dayaks,  Kayans,  and  other 
tribes. 


226  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

offering  no  resistance,  except  at  the  commencement,  when  the 
sentry  fired  and  killed  one  of  the  murderers. 

After  a  stay  of  a  few  days  in  Kuching,  organising  his 
party,  the  Tuan  Muda  proceeded  with  the  Sarawak  Cross  J 
and  Jolly  Bachelor  to  the  Rejang  river.  At  Rejang  he  learnt 
from  Abang  All  that  Tani,  the  chief  of  the  Banyoks,  who,  to 
cover  his  tracks,  was  the  first  to  report  the  murders  to  the 
Tuan  Muda  at  Sekrang,  though  not  actively  participating, 
had  been  a  principal  speaker  inciting  to  the  murders.  He 
learnt  further  that  Penglima  Abi  and  Talip,  two  of  the  actual 
assassins,  had  gone  straight  to  Sherip  Masahor,  had  apprised 
him  of  their  deed,  and  had  told  him  the  country  was  now  his 
own.  The  Sherip  promptly  killed  Abi,  but  Talip  escaped 
and  went  to  Bruni,  where  he  complained  that  the  Sherip 
wanted  to  kill  him  to  prevent  him  from  telling  the  white  men 
that  it  was  his  (the  Sherip's)  order  that  Fox  and  Steele  should 
be  put  to  death.  Other  conspirators  on  arriving  at  Serikei 
were  also  put  to  death  by  the  Sherip. 

Abang  AH  was  at  once  despatched  to  Serikei  in  a  fast 
boat,  the  Tuan  Muda  following  in  the  schooner  Sarawak 
Cross.  He  was  to  put  to  death  all  those  at  Serikei  who  were 
proved  to  have  been  guilty  of  complicity  in  the  murder  of  Fox 
and  Steele.  He  found  that  the  Malays  who  had  been 
accessories,  under  the  Penglima  Abi,  had  decamped  and 
fortified  themselves  in  a  creek,  there  he  attacked  and  slew 
them  ;  the  few  who  had  remained  were  seized  and  krised." 

Tani  was  caught  and  executed,  though  he  protested  his 
innocence,  and  on  being  conveyed  to  death  declared  solemnly, 
"  I  am  not  guilty,  before  long  the  true  culprits  will  be 
discovered."  It  is  perhaps  to  be  regretted  that  his  life  was 
not  spared  on  condition  of  revealing  the  prime  movers  of  the 
plot.  The  case  was  most  carefully  investigated  by  the  Tuan 
Muda  before  sentence  was  passed,  and  the  words  he 
employed  on  his  way  to  execution  showed  that  he  had  a 
knowledge  of  the  conspiracy. 

Mr.  St.  John  more  than  hints  that  Tani  was  innocent. 
But  at  the  time  he  was   not  in  Sarawak,  but  at   Bruni,  and 

1   A  schooner  belonging  to  the  S.  P. G.  Mission. 
2  The  national  method  of  execution. 


THE  SHERIP  MASAHOR  227 

did  not  again  visit  the  Rejang.  There  the  justness  of  the 
execution  of  Tani  has  never  been  questioned,  even  by  his 
son,  Buju,  who  succeeded  him,  and  he  was  always  spoken  of  as 
one  of  the  most  active  instigators  of  the  murders.  The  Malays 
who  were  in  charge  of  the  fort  were  also  put  to  death  for 
surrendering  it  without  a  shred  of  resistance  to  the  assassins, 
and  allowing  it  to  be  plundered  of  arms  and  ammunition, 
and  everything  it  contained,  and  to  be  set  on  fire.  It  was 
complicity,  and  not  cowardice  ;  and  poor  Steele  had  been 
unwise  in  his  selection  of  fortmen. 

The  Tuan  Muda  had  brought  the  Datu  Haji  Gapur 
along  with  him,1  not  deeming  it  prudent  to  leave  him  in 
Kuching  unwatched,  and  now  at  Serikei  the  Sherip 
Masahor  came  on  board,  and  expressed  his  earnest  desire  to 
accompany  him  up  the  river,  and  assist  in  the  pursuit  of  the 
assassins  who  had  fled.  He  was  urgent  that  his  own  armed 
men  should  surround  the  Tuan  Muda  and  act  as  bodyguard, 
but  the  offer  was  prudently  declined. 

This  man  was  deeply  suspected,  but  I  could  not  find  a  clue,  or  a 
tittle  of  evidence  through  which  he  might  be  brought  to  trial.  I 
thought  all  in  this  large  river  were  more  or  less  implicated,  but  we 
could  not  put  all  to  death,  though  conspiracy  was  rife.  Some  were 
originators  and  instigators,  some  again  the  active  workers  ;  others 
merely  dupes,  and  some  again  only  listeners,  but  none  talebearers. 
So  my  course  was  to  meet  the  Sherip  in  a  friendly  manner  without 
a  shadow  of  suspicion  on  my  brow,  and  as  he  sat  on  one  chair,  I 
sat  on  another  within  a  foot  of  him.  He  had  his  sword,  I  had 
mine  ;  both  had  equally  sharpened  edges. 

There  were  also  present  on  deck  a  guard  of  armed  blunder- 
buss men,  and  the  redoubtable  old  Subu,2 

although  I  beckoned  him  away,  he  would  take  up  his  seat  close  to 
me,  with  his  gigantic  sword  at  his  waist.     We  sat  and  talked  cordially 

1  From  a  letter  from  the  Tuan  Muda  to  his  uncle,  giving  an  account  of  these 
events,  it  is,  however,  evident  that  Haji  Gapur  had  wheedled  himself  into  the  Tuan 
Muda's  good  graces,  and  had  to  a  large  extent  regained  his  confidence.  The  Haji 
begged  to  be  with  him,  and  was  taken. 

-  A  Singapore  Malay,  better  known  as  Inchi  Subu.  He  was  one  of  the  Malay  sailors 
engaged  by  the  Rajah  to  serve  on  the  Royalist  when  he  first  arrived  at  Singapore. 
He  was  remarkable  for  his  size  and  strength.  He  became  personal  orderly  to  the 
late  Rajah  ;  and  afterwards  to  the  present  Rajah,  and  was  also  the  executioner.  A 
brave  and  trustworthy  man.  he  was  generally  popular  with  Europeans  as  well  as 
natives.      He  died  some  years  ago. 


228  A    HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

on  various  topics,  and  he  (the  Sherip)  particularly  recommended  every 
precaution,  as  he  said  he  feared  badly-disposed  men  were  about. 
So  after  an  hour  of  this  hollow  friendship  we  separated,  he  going  on 
shore  again.      'What  would  he  not  have  given  for  my  head  ! 

The  executions  previously  done  by  Masahor  had  been 
to  get  rid  of  awkward  witnesses  to  his  having  been  an 
instigator  of  the  crime. 

Something  had  already  been  done,  but  much  more  yet  re- 
mained. My  wish  was  to  punish  those  immediately  implicated, 
before  touching  the  instigators.  I  could  only  get  at  the  former 
by  the  assistance  of  the  latter. 

I  felt  apprehensive  that  I  should  have  difficulties  with  my  own 
people  after  they  had  witnessed  such  severe  proceedings,  but  was 
determined  to  carry  out  my  original  resolve,  and  permit  nothing  to 
shake  me.  I  felt,  while  in  this  state,  no  more  fear  of  danger  or 
death  than  of  washing  my  hands  in  the  morning.  A  man  with  arms 
constantly  about  him,  and  death  staring  him  in  the  face,  soon  loses 
the  sensation  of  what  people  improperly  style  nervousness.  An 
express  boat  was  despatched  to  Kanowit  for  the  remains  of  our  late 
friends,  and  they  were  buried  at  Serikei  near  the  fort.1 

The  Tuan  Muda  lingered  at  Serikei  as  long  as  he  could, 
waiting  for  the  Sekrang  force,  but  as  there  were  no  signs 
of  its  coming  he  pushed  on  to  Kanowit,  "  where  there  was 
nothing  to  be  seen  but  black  desolation.  The  poles  and  some 
fragments  of  the  old  houses  were  left,  but  nothing  else. 
The  place  looked  as  if  it  had  been  blighted  by  evil  spirits." 

Here  he  was  informed  that  the  Kanowits  and  others 
under  Sawing  and  Sakalai,  two  of  the  principals  in  the  raid 
on  Kanowit,  had  retired  up  the  Kabah,  a  branch  stream  of 
the  Rejang  a  short  distance  above,  and  had  strongly  fortified 
themselves  there.  Hundreds  of  Dayaks  from  the  Kanowit 
river  now  came  and  placed  themselves  at  the  Tuan  Muda's 
disposal,  but  they  were  his  quondam  enemies,  and  were  but 
doubtful  friends.  To  test  their  professions  of  loyalty  the 
Tuan  Muda  ordered  them  to  proceed  to  attack  the  enemy's 
fortification,  and  should  they  fail  to  take  it  they  were  to  sur- 
round it,  so  as  to  prevent  the  enemy  decamping,  and  to  await 
his  arrival.      In  the  morning  they  left  to  execute  this  order. 

Two  days  the  Tuan  Muda  waited  for  his  Sekrang  rein- 

1  Afterwards  re-interred  in  the  Kuching  cemetery. 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  229 

forcements,  whilst  the  Malays  were  busy  erecting  a  new  fort, 
and  then  a  young  Dayak  chief  from  the  advance  party  arrived 
with  the  information  that  they  had  failed  in  their  attack  on 
the  stockades,  and  had  lost  some  killed  and  many  wounded, 
but  they  had  obeyed  the  Tuan  Muda's  instructions,  and  had 
taken  up  positions  out  of  range  all  round  the  enemy's  position 
— they  begged  that  he  would  speedily  come  to  their  assistance. 
They  thus  proved  that  their  hearts  were  well  inclined  ;  and 
these  were  the  people  that  the  Tuan  Muda  had  so  severely 
punished  three  years  previously. 

Accordingly  early  next  morning,  the  Tuan  Muda,  without 
waiting  for  the  reinforcements,  started  up-stream  in  the  Jolly 
Bachelor  with  a  small  party,  and  joined  the  Dayak  force, 
which  he  now  felt  that  he  might  trust.  The  Dayaks 
willingly  took  one  of  the  6-pounders  and  the  ammunition 
out  of  the  gunboat,  and,  leaving  her  in  charge  of  the  Datu 
Temanggong,  the  Tuan  Muda  marched  inland,  with  a  body- 
guard of  only  forty  Malays,  and  these,  though  otherwise 
trustworthy,  not  the  best  kind  of  warriors.  With  the  excep- 
tion of  Penglima  Seman  and  Abang  Ali  he  had  no  reliable 
leaders. 

The  enemy's  position  was  reached  at  1  P.M.,  and  it  looked 
an  ugly  place  to  take.  The  Dayaks  had  built  huts  around, 
and  they  now  numbered  some  three  thousand.  A  stockade 
was  erected  300  yards  from  the  fortification,  the  gun  mounted, 
and  a  summons  sent  to  surrender  Sawing,  Sakalai,  and 
others  deeply  compromised  in  the  murder  of  Steele  and  Fox. 
This  was  refused,  and  the  gun  opened  fire,  which  was  returned, 
but  the  rebels'  shot  went  high  and  told  amongst  the  Dayaks 
in  the  rear.  After  forty-five  rounds  had  been  fired  darkness 
set  in.  The  chief,  Sawing,  had  been  heard  giving  directions 
right  and  left.  He  had  previously  sent  a  message  to  the  Tuan 
Muda  to  say  that  he  awaited  his  arrival  and  would  slaughter 
all  his  followers — the  Malays — for  he  did  not  regard  the 
Dayaks  as  his  enemies.  And  he  had  reason  for  this,  for 
these  Dayaks  had  before  been  hand-in-glove  with  the  Sherip  ; 
but  they  had  turned,  and  that  at  a  time  when  an  opportunity 
offered  of  possible  retaliation  for  the  punishment  formerly 
inflicted  upon  them. 


2  30  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

In  the  dusk  of  the  evening  a  few  of  our  party  spoke  to  the  enemy, 
who  had  suffered  much  from  our  shot,  and  were,  they  said,  willing 
to  come  to  terms.  It  was  now  an  impossibility,  as  our  force  of 
Dayaks  would  be  uncontrollable,  and  I  would  never  receive  them 
except  to  hang  them  all,  minus  the  women  and  children.  I  did  not 
trust  much  to  their  hollow  words,  so  despatched  a  party  to  bring  up 
more  ammunition  in  the  morning.  The  night  closed  in  quiet  and 
tranquil.  Next  morning,  my  wish  was  to  interfere  so  as  to  save  the 
women  and  children,  if  possible,  and  I  despatched  a  messenger  within 
speaking  distance  of  the  house,  to  demand  the  Government  arms  and 
goods  that  had  been  taken  from  the  Kanowit  fort.  After  some  time 
a  few  dollars  and  old  muskets  were  given  up  ;  then  I  sent  to  tell  the 
women  and  children  to  leave.  They  replied  that  they  were  afraid  of 
the  Dayaks.  So,  after  giving  them  a  certain  time,  and  knowing  that 
then  further  delay  was  useless,  I  ordered  Abang  Ali  to  advance  and 
take  the  house  if  he  could.  The  fellows  rushed  on,  yelling  terribly. 
I  kept  our  small  Malay  force  together  in  the  stockade  with  Penglima 
Seman,  as  a  panic  might  arise  among  them,  and  the  besieged  become 
desperate,  and  charge  us  ;  so  the  gun  was  ready  with  grape  and 
canister  to  be  discharged  at  a  moment's  notice. 

After  a  furious  attack,  the  stockade  was  entered,  and 
there  was  desperate  fighting  within  between  those  defending 
it  and  those  entering  by  climbing  the  poles  that  sustained  it. 
Then  fire  was  applied,  and  both  ends  of  the  building  kindled 
and  began  to  blaze  furiously. 

Now  came  the  horror  of  war  indeed.  Some  were  burnt,  some 
killed,  some  taken  prisoners,  and  some  few  escaped.  So  ended  that 
fortification.  Its  roof  fell  with  a  crash,  leaving  only  its  smoking 
embers  to  tell  where  it  had  stood.  Our  Dayaks  were  mad  with 
excitement,  flying  about  with  heads ;  many  with  frightful  wounds, 
some  even  mortal. 

Unhappily  the  leading  murderers  escaped  ;  they  succeeded 
in  cutting  their  way  through  the  attacking  force.  The  Tuan 
Muda's  party  suffered  heavily,  and  about  thirty-five  Dayaks 
were  killed  by  poisoned  arrows.  The  puncture  shows  no 
larger  than  if  it  had  been  made  by  a  pin.  Drowsiness  ensues, 
and  death  follows  in  half  an  hour.  One  of  the  Malays,  who 
was  thus  wounded,  was  saved  by  being  given  a  glass  of 
brandy,  and  being  kept  to  his  feet,  walking,  in  spite  of  his 
entreaties  to  be  allowed  to  lie  down  and  sleep.      Sakalai's  wife 


THE  SHERIP  MASAHOR  231 

and  some  of  the  women  were  saved,  and  were  sent  to  their 
friends. 

After  remaining  some  time  at  Kanowit  to  establish  con- 
fidence among  the  Dayaks,  and  to  set  a  guard  in  the  new 
fort,  of  which  Abang  Ali  was  placed  in  charge,  the  Tuan 
Muda  returned  to  Kuching,  stopping  on  his  way  at  Serikei, 
when  again  Sherip  Masahor  dissembled,  and  received  him 
with  marked  respect  and  attention  ;  he  subsequently  learnt 
that  this  visit  was  near  being  his  last  to  any  one  on  earth. 
At  Kuching  the  Tuan  Muda  was  welcomed  by  his  country- 
men, the  Malays  and  Chinese,  with  every  honour  ;  what  he 
had  effected  had  gladdened  the  hearts  of  all,  but  the  troubles 
were  not  at  an  end. 

The  rumours  we  have  mentioned  of  the  massacre  of 
Europeans  in  Dutch  Borneo  had  caused  extreme  disquiet 
amongst  the  natives  generally,  and  the  murders  of  Steele 
and  Fox  led  them  to  believe  that  the  fate  wherewith  all 
Europeans  were  threatened  was  to  overtake  those  in 
Sarawak  as  well,  and  that  the  Bruni  Rajahs  were  about  to 
resume  possession  of  the  country.  Reports  calculated  to 
disturb  the  minds  of  the  people  were  diligently  spread,  and 
one,  which  came  from  Bruni,  was  that  the  Queen  of  England 
was  so  incensed  against  the  Rajah  that  she  had  ordered  his 
execution,  and  that  his  life  was  spared  only  by  the  inter- 
vention of  the  Sultan. 

A  deep  and  intricate  plot  had  been  formed,  the  active 
principals  in  Sarawak  being  the  Sherip  Masahor,  the  Datu 
Haji,  and  the  Bandar  Kasim,  and  trustworthy  intelligence 
was  subsequently  received  that  they  were  being  backed  up 
by  the  Bruni  Government,  or  rather  the  dominant  party 
there,  by  whom  an  agent  had  been  despatched  along  the 
coast  to  extort  goods  from  the  natives,  and  to  communicate 
with  the  Sherip,  to  whom  a  kris  was  presented  with  which 
the  white  men  in  Sarawak  were  to  be  put  to  death.  There 
was  unity  of  action,  moreover,  between  the  conspirators  and 
their  friends  in  Western  or  Netherlands  Borneo,  and  of  this 
the  Dutch  were  aware.  They  had  early  intelligence  of  the 
plotting,  and  warned  the  Sarawak  Government.  But  the  pre- 
cipitate action  at  Kanowit  and  the  subsequent  proceedings  of 


232  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  Tuan  Muda  had  for  a  time  hindered  the  conspirators, 
and  rendered  it  necessary  for  them  to  dissemble,  even  to  the 
extent  of  sacrificing  some  of  their  own  supporters,  which 
served  a  double  purpose — to  throw  off  suspicion  from  them- 
selves, and  to  silence  dangerous  tongues.  But  within  a 
short  time  they  were  again  active,  though  lack  of  concerted 
action,  as  in  the  case  of  so  many  other  conspiracies  designed 
to  act  simultaneously  at  various  points,  led  to  failure,  through 
too  great  precipitation  of  some  of  the  plotters. 

The  Datu  Haji  was  the  first  to  commence.  He  had 
remained  at  Serikei  when  the  Tuan  Muda  left  that  place 
on  his  return  from  Kanowit,  and  his  object  in  accompany- 
ing the  Tuan  Muda  there  was,  while  professing  loyalty,  to 
deliberate  with  the  Sherip.  On  his  return  to  Kuching  he 
proceeded  to  Lundu,  and  there  incited  the  Land-Dayaks  to 
insurrection,  telling  them  that  2000  white  men  had  already 
been  killed,  and  the  rest  were  to  be  cut  off  immediately  ; 
he  further  threatened  the  Dayaks  that  if  they  did  not  become 
Muhammadans  they  would  share  the  same  fate.  This  story 
he  had  told  also  to  Dayaks  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Kuching. 
A  subtle  plan  was  formed  to  march  overland  on  the  town, 
and  in  the  dead  of  night  quietly  to  fire  some  houses  and 
then  fall  on  the  English,  who  would  be  certain  to  turn  out 
to  help  to  extinguish  the  fires,  and  so  would  fall  easy 
victims. 

The  old  Datu  Temanggong  was  the  first  to  warn  the 
Tuan  Muda.  He  went  to  him,  and,  after  taking  the  pre- 
caution of  ordering  all  his  followers  out  of  the  room,  told 
him  to  take  care  of  himself,  and  not  to  ride  and  walk  about 
unarmed.  He  further  observed  that  many  suspicious  re- 
ports were  flying  about.  The  chiefs  were  at  once  assembled, 
and  were  unanimous  in  recommending  that  the  English 
officers  should  wear  arms.  "  Why  do  we  wear  arms  ? " 
they  said,  "  because  we  cannot  trust  our  neighbours."  The 
Datu  Imaum  added  that  he,  being  a  haji,  was  not  supposed 
to  wear  a  sword,  and  opening  his  robe  showed  a  hidden  kris, 
sharp  as  a  razor.  The  Tuan  Muda  was  aware  that  it  was 
useless  asking  them  at  this  stage  to  give  their  authority  for 
these    suspicions ;    he    knew   they    were    not    yet    prepared 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  233 

openly  to  go  further  than  to  warn  him  to  be  on  his 
guard — what  had  come  to  their  ears  would  be  told  him 
privately,  and  in  due  course  of  time.  Natives  are  extremely 
reticent  and  cautious  at  such  times.  The  datus  did  not 
wish  to  warn  foes  as  well  as  friends,  and  were  on  their 
guard  against  unsuspected  spies  and  babbling  tongues. 
The  warning  was  rightly  regarded,  and  the  Tuan  Muda 
and  his  officers  prepared  to  meet  the  dangers  that  were 
brewing. 

A  few  days  later  the  Datu  Haji's  plot  was  revealed 
to  the  Tuan  Muda,  and  he  acted  with  promptitude.  "  I 
assembled  the  chiefs,  and  acquainted  them  that  I  should 
turn  him  out  of  the  country  immediately  he  returned,  and 
should  prepare  at  once  in  case  any  opposition  was  shown." 
The  chiefs  seemed  satisfied,  and  said  they  were  powerless 
with  such  an  old  and  morose  man,  and  recommended  me  to 
use  my  own  judgment  in  dealing  with  him,  engaging  to 
assist  me.  Guns  were  loaded,  and  gunboats  fenced  in,  but 
everything  was  done  quietly  and  without  bustle.  A  guard 
was  placed  in  Government  House,  and  the  apertures  were 
barred  to  prevent  sudden  rushes.  The  day  after  the  culprit 
returned  and  was  informed  that  he  had  to  leave  the  country. 
Friendly  people  were  mustered  from  neighbouring  rivers, 
and  were  lounging  about  in  groups,  ready  at  a  moment's 
notice.  All  wore  arms  and  work  was  suspended.  Next 
morning  came,  and  the  Sarawak  chiefs  assembled  the 
Nakodas  (merchants)  and  population  in  the  Native  Court.1 
The  Bandar  addressed  them  in  these  curt  words  :  "  I  follow 
the  Sarawak  Government  ;  there  is  business  to  be  done. 
All  those  who  are  disposed  to  follow  and  assist  me,  hold  up 
their  hands."  They  all  responded  favourably,  and  he  then 
made  known,  "The  Government  banishes  Datu  Haji  and 
Xakoda  Dulah,2  as  they  are  considered  too  dangerous  to 
live  amongst  us."  Some  of  his  relatives  conveyed  the  news 
to  him,  and  told  the  Haji  he  had  to  leave  the  next  day ;  an 

1  A  Court  set  apart  for  the  settlement  of  Probate  and  Divorce  cases  and  other 
civil  suits  arising  amongst  Muhammadans,  and  which  are  settled  in  accordance  with 
Muhammadan  law.      Presided  over  by  the  Datus. 

2  A  relation  of  the  Datu  Haji.  He  had  been  very  active  inciting  the  people  of 
Lundu  to  revolt. 


254  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

allowance  would  be  granted  to  him  by  the  Government. 
Resistance  was  useless  on  his  part.  So  terminated  this 
affair.  He  had  been  condemned  in  open  court  and  by  his 
own  connections,  the  Bandar  and  the  Imaum.  Although 
he  had  no,  or  very  little,  influence  in  Kuching,  he  had  in 
the  country,  for  he  was  hand-in-glove  with  the  malcontents 
amongst  the  Saribas  and  Sadong  Malays,  and  was  the 
cause  of  the  revolt  in  the  Sadong,  due  to  his  connection  the 
Bandar  Kasim.  He  was  at  once  sent  to  Singapore,  not, 
however,  to  remain  there  for  long  ;  and  he  shortly  afterwards 
got  himself  into  further  and  more  serious  trouble.  He  had 
failed,  but  he  knew  others  would  shortly  be  active,  and  he 
trusted  to  them  to  retrieve  his  failure,  and  so  prepared  to 
join  them  directly  they  moved.  Bayang,  the  principal  chief 
of  the  Dayaks,  who  had  joined  him,  was  imprisoned. 

The  discovery  of  this  conspiracy,  the  murders  of  Steele 
and  Fox,  and  the  knowledge  that  other  plots  were  certainly 
brewing  naturally  created  great  alarm  amongst  the  English 
residents.  No  one  felt  safe,  for  none  knew  the  actual  ex- 
tent of  these  plots,  or  could  distinguish  between  friend  and 
foe.  The  Government  Officers  were  discouraged,  for  they 
felt  that  the  confidence  created  by  long  years  of  labour, 
anxiety,  and  kindly  intercourse  between  themselves  and  the 
natives  was  fast  vanishing.  Some  of  the  piratical  Dayaks, 
who  were  being  slowly  but  surely  weaned  from  their  evil 
ways  and  induced  to  trade  and  plant,  led  astray  by  cunningly 
devised  reports,  retired  again  to  their  fastnesses  in  the  interior 
and  defied  the  Government  ;  and  it  was  feared  that  this 
disaffection  might  spread.1      Sir  Spenser  St.  John  writes  : — 

The  gentlemen,  to  a  man,  stuck  to  their  posts  with  firmness,  - 
the  second  class  lost  all  courage ;  while  the  Bishop  and  some  of 
the  missionaries  left,  the  former  taking  home  news  that  it  was  a 
Mahommedan  plot,  with  the  Datu  Imaum  (the  rival  Mahommedan 
Bishop)  at  the  head  of  it — whereas  the  Datu  Imaum  showed  him- 
self, as  ever,  the  true  and  faithful  friend  of  the  English  3 — 

1  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  Rentap  was  still  at  Sadok  defying  the  Govern- 
ment. 

-  Messrs.  Watson  and  Cruicksbank  at  Saribas,  and  Mr.  Grant  at  Belidah.  In 
Kuching  Messrs.  Crookshank,  k.  Hay  (who  had  joined  in  May  1857).  and  Alderson, 
a  son  of  Baron  Alderson,  who  served  for  a  short  time  only. 

3  Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke. 


THE   SHERIP   MASAHOR  235 

and,  we  may  add,  true  and  faithful  he  remained  for  nearly 
fifty  years  afterwards.1 

The  year  of  anxiety  and  careful  watching  closed  without 
any  further  outbreaks,  but  early  in  i860  came  the  final 
episode,  which  ended  in  the  complete  dispersion  of  con- 
spiracies and  conspirators. 

This  was  a  mad  and  badly -concerted  effort  to  carry 
through  the  disorganised  plot.  It  was  a  plot  not  only  to 
overthrow  the  Sarawak  Government  and  murder  all  the 
English,  but  to  massacre  the  Dutch  in  Western  Borneo 
as  well.  By  industriously  spreading  false  reports,  Sherip 
Masahor  prepared  the  way  for  a  rising  of  the  natives  against 
their  English  and  Dutch  rulers,  knowing  that  if  successful 
at  one  point  it  would  become  general.  He  was  well  aware 
how  easy  it  would  be  to  impose  upon  the  ignorant  and 
sheepish  people  along  the  coast,  and  his  bold  project  was  to 
despatch  thither  a  specious  and  clever  Bruni  rogue,  a 
runaway  of  rank  from  Bruni,  named  Tunjang,  who  was  to 
personate  the  Pangiran  Temanggong,  the  Prime  Minister  of 
Bruni,  and  no  less  a  personage  than  the  late  Sultan's  son, 
and  the  heir  to  the  throne,  who  had  now  come  from  Bruni 
to  exterminate  all  Europeans.  He  was  to  join  the  Bandar 
Kasim  at  Sadong,  and  advance  up  that  river,  raising  the 
people  to  revolt  during  his  progress,  and  to  follow  him. 
He  was  to  cross  over  into  Netherlands  Borneo,  where  he 
would  find  many  disaffected  against  their  rulers  ready  to 
rally  around  him,  and  then  proceed  down  the  Kapuas  and 
attack  Pontianak,  whither  the  Datu  Haji  was  to  proceed 
from  Singapore  to  organise  a  second  branch  of  the  con- 
spiracy, and  to  be  ready  to  assist  him  from  within  when  he 
appeared  off  that  place.  They  were  then  to  return  and 
attack  Kuching  from  the  interior,  whilst  the  Sherip  made  a 
simultaneous  attack  from  the  sea. 

The  relation  of  events  which  followed  we  take  from  the 
Tuan  Muda's  narrative  2  and  from  official  records. 

Early  in  January,  Pangiran  Matusin  brought  the  Tuan 
Muda  a  letter  sent  him   by  the  impostor,  Tunjang,  purport 

1   He  was  better  known  in  later  days  as  the  Datu  Bandar. 
2   Ten   Years  in  Sarawak. 


236  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

ing  to  be  from  the  Pangiran  Temanggong,  ordering  him  to 
proceed  to  Sadong  and  there  to  join  this  prince,  who  was 
waiting  for  a  numerous  force,  which  was  to  number  many 
thousands.  The  Pangiran,  the  bearers  of  the  letter  had  told 
him,  was  exacting  and  authoritative,  and  his  orders  were 
being  readily  obeyed  by  the  people.  Matusin  supposed  that 
the  Temanggong  had  really  come.  The  letter  was  a  clever 
forgery  executed  by  the  Sherip  together  with  others,  which 
were  subsequently  sent  to  the  datus  and  chiefs  calling 
upon  them  to  assist  in  exterminating  all  Europeans.  The 
Tuan  Muda  saw  in  this  a  dangerous  plot,  and  the  hand  of 
an  impostor,  and  this  was  the  view  taken  by  the  members 
of  council.  At  once  strong  parties  were  despatched  to  cut 
off  the  evil-doer,  whoever  he  was,  and  who,  false  as  he 
might  be,  was  capable  of  doing  incalculable  harm  amongst 
the  simple-minded  people  up-country,  and  had  therefore  to 
be  dealt  with  promptly. 

Rightly  conjecturing  that  he  might  be  making  for  the 
Kapuas,  the  Tuan  Muda  despatched  one  party  under  Mr. 
Hay  to  the  head  of  the  Sadong  by  the  Sarawak  river  to 
prevent  this,  and  an  express  was  sent  by  Sherip  Matusain  to 
warn  the  Dutch  officials.  Though  Mr.  Hay  pressed  on,  he 
was  too  late  to  intercept  this  pseudo  prince,  who  had  crossed 
the  border,  two  days  before  he  arrived,  at  the  head  of  a  strong 
following  of  Malays  and  Dayaks.  In  regal  style  this  prince 
was  borne  in  a  litter,  as  became  one  of  his  exalted  rank,  and 
he  now  styled  himself  Sultan.  Everywhere  he  was  treated 
with  marked  respect.  Men  gladly  enrolled  themselves  in 
his  service,  and  accorded  him  the  large  contributions  in  goods 
and  slaves  that  he  exacted.  It  was  arranged  that  the  chiefs 
over  the  border — of  Landak,  Sanggau,  and  Pontianak — were 
to  rise  along  with  their  people  under  his  command  against  the 
Dutch  ;  and,  indeed,  it  is  probable  that  many  might  have  done 
so,  for  at  Sanggau  he  was  received  with  salutes  and  all  honours. 
But  the  role  of  a  prince  was  to  be  speedily  changed  for  the 
more  fitting  one  of  a  malefactor  in  chains.  The  Dutch 
acted  promptly,  and  one  fine  morning  he  found  the  place 
invested  by  troops,  and  the  house  in  which  he  was  staying 
surrounded.      Some  of  his  supporters  appear  to  have   flown 


THE  SHERIP  MASAHOR  237 

to  his  aid,  for  one  pangiran  was  killed  and  another  wounded 
— these  were  genuine  pangirans.  The  impostor  surrendered, 
was  placed  in  irons,  and  conveyed  to  prison  in  Batavia  ;  here 
he  was  soon  joined  by  the  Datu  Haji  in  the  same  unhappy 
plight.  The  latter  had  gone  to  Pontianak  to  carry  out  the 
part  assigned  to  him,  and  had  unwittingly  run  into  a  trap, 
for  on  landing  he  was  immediately  arrested.  His  departure 
from  Singapore  was  known  to  Mr.  Grant,  who  was  then  at 
that  place,  and  reported  by  him  to  the  Dutch  Consul  there, 
who  immediately  telegraphed  the  news  to  Batavia. 

The  countries  Tunjang  had  passed  through  were  in  a 
most  unsettled  state,  and  the  minds  of  the  people  were  over- 
filled with  false  reports.  Some  of  the  head  men  were 
prepared  to  live,  and,  if  needs  be,  die  in  support  of  the  mock 
Temanggong.  Sadong  was  in  revolt,  and  the  Bandar 
Kasim  had  sent  an  open  defiance  to  Kuching.  It  was 
now  known  that  Sherip  Masahor  was,  and  had  been  from 
the  first,  the  leading  spirit  of  the  conspiracy,  and  Tunjang 
had  confessed  as  much  to  the  Dutch.1 

Little  suspecting  the  fate  that  had  overtaken  his  fellow- 
conspirator  and  trusty  agent,  and  deeming  that  the  time 
had  come  for  him  to  perform  his  part — the  third  branch 
of  the  conspiracy — Masahor  moved  on  Kuching  with  a  well- 
selected  mob  of  his  particular  desperadoes.  But  the  Tuan 
Muda  was  warned  of  his  approach.  The  chiefs  "  earnestly 
breathed  their  anxieties  about  this  individual,  saying,  '  Do 
what  you  think  best  for  the  safety  of  the  country,  we  are 
ready  to  follow  you.'  All  our  guns  were  loaded  and  we 
never  moved  without  being  armed,  which  gave  our  friends 
great  confidence,  and  the  doubtful  ones  considerable  fear." 
The  Sherip  was  warned  that  he  would  be  looked  upon  as  an 
enemy  and  fired  upon  if  he  entered  Sarawak  territory,  but 
this  warning,  if  received  in  time,  was  unheeded.  The  Tuan 
Muda  now  started  with  a  sufficient  force  to  bring  the  Sadong 
people  to  their  senses,  but  he  had  not  proceeded  far  down 
the  river  before  he  encountered  the  Sherip  advancing  towards 
Kuching  with   two   large   prahus   crowded   with    men.      The 

1  The  Sultan  of  Bruni  affirmed  to  Consul-General  St.  John  that  the  Sherip  was 
responsible  for  the  murder  of  Steele  and  Fox. 


238  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Sherip  was  brought  up  and  ordered  to  turn  his  boats  and 
follow  the  Tuan  Muda's  flotilla,  and  this  order  he  dared 
not  disobey.  The  Tuan  Muda  had  no  time  to  deal  with  him 
then,  unless  it  had  been  done  summarily,  which  would  have 
entailed  unnecessary  loss  of  life,  so  Masahor  was  escorted 
out  of  the  river,  and  bidden  return  to  his  own  country  : 
he  was  warned  not  to  follow  into  the  Sadong. 

The  Government  station  in  the  Sadong  is  at  Semunjan, 
about  twenty  miles  up  the  river.  The  Malays  of  this  place 
were  well-disposed.  On  the  Tuan  Muda's  arrival  early 
next  night  he  was  immediately  warned  that  the  Sherip's 
sole  intention  in  going  to  Kuching  was  to  put  all  the  white 
men  to  death,  and  that  he  intended  to  strike  at  him  first,1 
and  a  little  later  came  news  that  the  Sherip  was  anchored  in 
the  river  just  below.  With  enemies  before  him  this  rendered 
the  situation  critical,  for  the  force  with  him  was  not  large. 
He  resolved  to  deal  with  the  Sherip  at  once  ;  "  he  is  the 
enemy  to  strike,  the  rest  are  mere  trifles,"  was  the  opinion 
of  the  chiefs  with  him. 

Xo  time  was  lost.  The  Jolly  Bachelor  and  the  prahus  at 
once  silently  dropped  down  the  river,  and  took  up  positions 
around  the  Sherip's  large  prahus  ;  fearing  the  culprit  might 
escape  during  the  night,  the  sampans,  or  canoes,  attached  to 
his  prahus  were  at  once  taken  away. 

The  Tuan  Muda  had  only  Muhammadan  Malays  with 
him  ;  to  them  the  person  of  a  Sherip,  a  descendant  of  the 
Prophet,  was  sacred,  and  to  have  him  seized  and  put  in  irons 
was  simply  impossible.  At  dawn  he  called  upon  those  who 
did  not  court  destruction  to  leave  the  Sherip's  prahus,  which 
several  did,  and  then  he  opened  fire  with  round  shot  ;  so  as 
to  spare  life,  grapeshot  was  not  used.  The  Sherip's  vessel 
was  struck  about  the  water- mark,  and  soon  began  to  fill, 
when  a  breeze  springing  up,  he  cut  his  cables  and  drifted 
ashore,  escaping  into  the  jungle  with  a  few  followers.  The 
Tuan  Muda's  men  were  reluctant  to  follow  him  ;  some 
thought  the  Sherip  invulnerable,  others  that  he  had  the 
power   of   damping  powder   and    blunting   weapons  from   a 

1  A  [x-nsion  of  300  reals  per  mensem  had  been  offered  to  any  one  taking  the 
Tuan  Muda's  head  ;  the  danger  attached  to  such  an  undertaking  was  evidently  duly 
appret 


THE   SHERIP   MASAHOR  239 

distance,  and  the  search  for  him  was  but  half-hearted. 
Three  times  the  Tuan  Muda  had  raised  his  rifle  and  covered 
the  Sherip  as  he  climbed  the  bank,  but  spared  him.  It  is  a 
pity  he  was  merciful,  for  wandering  down  the  banks  of  the 
river  the  Sherip  and  his  followers  came  across  a  boat  from 
which  two  Malays  had  landed.  The  boat  they  seized,  and 
in  it  escaped  to  Muka — the  Malays  they  wantonly  murdered 
to  cover  their  tracks.  Among  other  articles  found  in  his 
prahu  was  the  Sherip's  long  execution  kris  ;  his  bringing  this 
was  significant. 

Then  the  Tuan  Muda  returned  up  the  river.  At 
Semunjan  he  learnt  that  the  Bandar  Kasim  had  incited  the 
Malays  there  to  rush  the  fort  whilst  he,  the  Tuan  Muda,  was 
engaged  with  the  Sherip,  but  they  had  declined  to  have 
anything  to  do  with  him.  On  arriving  at  Gadong,  then  the 
principal  Malay  settlement,  the  Tuan  Muda  found  that  the 
Bandar  Kasim  and  his  rebellious  clique  had  decamped  over 
the  border.  He  assembled  the  now  thoroughly  cowed  people, 
and  told  them  they  had  all  been  imposed  upon  by  a  man, 
passing  himself  off  as  a  Bruni  Rajah,  and  that  he  did  not 
blame  the  lower  class  people.  As  Bandar  Kasim  had 
disavowed  and  challenged  the  Government  the  whole  of  his 
property  was  confiscated,  and  all  his  slaves  were  liberated. 
The  people  were  assured  by  the  Tuan  Muda  that  he  had  no 
intention  of  taking  steps  to  punish  their  misconduct,  though 
he  plainly  told  them  they  should  have  known  better,  and  he 
begged  them  to  be  more  careful  in  future.  They  loudly 
upbraided  their  chiefs  for  having  misled  them,  and  one  man 
angrily  turning  to  the  people,  exclaimed,  "  You  are  all  a 
parcel  of  babies,  only  fit  to  crawl,  instead  of  standing  up- 
right." He  spoke  the  truth,  but  these  poor  ignorant  creatures 
had  not  yet  learnt  to  stand  upright.  The  words  of  their 
chiefs  were  still  law  to  them,  and  years  of  oppression  had 
taught  them  to  submit  without  murmur  to  the  rule  of  the  great 
over  their  lives  and  property.  But  the  spell  was  broken. 
Their  chiefs  had  fled  before  the  Tuan  Muda,  and  the  greatest 
Sherip  in  the  land  had  been  utterly  routed.  The  agent  of  the 
Bruni  Government,  whose  presence  on  the  coast  has  been 
mentioned,  on  hearing  that  the  Sherip  had  been  fired  upon,  left 


24o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

his  large  prahu  and  fled  in  fear  to  Bruni  in  a  small  boat, 
declaring  that  he  believed  the  heavens  would  collapse  next. 
Shortly  afterwards  the  Bandar  Kasim  arrived  at  Kuching  with 
his  whole  family,  and  delivered  himself  up  to  the  mercy  of 
the  Government. 

The  Tuan  Muda  then  proceeded  to  Sekrang,  and  there 
received  a  letter  from  the  Malay  chief  of  Serikei,  Abang  Ali, 
urging  him  to  come  to  their  assistance,  as  Sherip  Masahor 
had  returned,  and  was  again  oppressing  the  people.  At 
once  the  Tuan  Muda  collected  a  flying  force  of  150  large 
bangkongs,  manned  by  his  faithful  Dayaks.  Serikei  was 
found  to  be  deserted,  and  the  Sherip  had  fled  to  Igan.  His 
fine  house  was  burnt  down.  After  ascertaining  that  Kanowit 
was  safe  in  the  keeping  of  the  people  there,  the  Tuan  Muda 
proceeded  to  Igan,  the  Sherip's  actual  stronghold,  which  was 
reported  to  be  strongly  fortified.  This  place  with  the  district 
around  was  his  own  particular  property,  and  was  the  centre 
of  his  followers,  but  he  had  no  heart  to  face  the  Tuan  Muda 
again,  and  fled  to  Muka.  Igan  was  looted  and  burnt. 
Much  of  the  Sherip's  property  was  seized,  including  many 
long  brass  guns,  or  native  cannon,  of  handsome  design, 
which  had  been  heirlooms  in  his  family  for  generations, 
and  some  of  these  now  adorn  the  Court  House  in 
Kuching. 

The  expulsion  of  Sherip  Masahor  completed  the  dis- 
comfiture of  the  conspirators  and  their  adherents,  and  brought 
their  conspiracies  to  an  end.  Though  lacking  unison  and 
proper  disposition  these  had  menaced  extreme  danger.  But 
the  crisis  past  left  the  Government  more  firmly  established 
than  ever.  The  Sherips,  the  Bruni  nobles,  and  the  dis- 
affected Sarawak  chiefs  now  realised  that  their  power  to 
do  harm  and  to  mislead  the  people  was  for  ever  broken. 
Dispelled  was  all  existing  doubt  as  to  the  power  of  the 
Government  to  endure  without  extraneous  assistance  ;  and 
dispelled  from  the  minds  of  the  people  was  the  myth  of  the 
might  of  the  Sultan  and  his  nobles.  Confidence  was 
established  in  man}-  who  were  at  heart  in  sympathy  with  a 
Government  which  brought  them  justice  and  security,  but 
who,  doubting  its  stability  as  a  bulwark  against  the  oppression 


THE   SHERIP   MASAHOR  241 

of  their  chiefs,  had  been  prepared  again  to  resign  themselves 
to  their  power. 

The  repression  by  the  Tuan  Muda  of  this  last  effort  of 
the  supporters  of  extortion  and  misrule  inaugurated  an  epoch 
of  peace  and  freedom  for  all  time.  He  had  acted  with 
vigour,  and  without  delay.  His  resourcefulness  and  influence 
over  the  people  enabled  him  to  tide  over  a  most  difficult 
time  with  but  poor  material,  and  under  the  most  trying 
circumstances.  "  I  will  not  praise  you,  for  words  fall  fiat 
and  cold,  but  you  have  saved  Sarawak,  and  all  owe  you  a 
deep  debt  of  gratitude,"  were  the  words  in  which  his  uncle 
and  chief  conveyed  his  deserved  appreciation  of  the  services 
that  had  been  rendered  by  him  ;  and  he  won  for  himself  the 
entire  trust  of  the  people  of  all  classes,  a  trust  that  remains 
unimpaired  to  this  day. 

Indifference  to  the  fate  of  Sarawak  had  been  openly 
expressed  by  the  British  Government  ;  consequently  no 
helping  hand  had  been  proffered,  though  the  troubles  with 
which  the  State  was  beset  were  well  known.  Even  the 
presence  of  a  man-of-war,  though  she  lent  no  active  support, 
would  have  exercised  great  moral  effect.  "  Sarawak  has 
been  encouraged  and  betrayed,"  *  in  mournful  anger  wrote' 
the  Rajah,  "  England  has  betrayed  us  beyond  all  doubt,  and 
in  the  time  of  urgent  peril  cares  nothing  whether  we  perish 
or  survive." 

In  April,  Captain  Brooke,  the  Tuan  Besar,  returned  to 
Sarawak  and  resumed  his  duties  as  head  of  the  Government. 
His  brother's  arrival  released  the  Tuan  Muda  from  his  duties 
at  the  capital,  and  left  him  free  to  devote  his  time  to  the 
more  active  work  yet  to  be  done  in  the  provinces,  where  his 
presence  was  needed  to  reassure  the  people  ;  and  there  were 
still  the  refractory  Dayaks  of  the  Serikei  and  Nyalong  to  be 
subjected,  and  Rentap  to  be  smoked  out  of  his  lair. 

1  "Sarawak  became  virtually  a  protected  State.  Her  ruler  was  appointed  a 
public  officer  of  the  Crown,  and  such  unequivocal  countenance  and  support  were 
given  as  to  assure  the  natives,  and  to  induce  British  subjects  to  embark  their  lives  and 
fortunes  in  the  country." — The  Rajah  to  the  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies. 
Nevertheless  protection  and  support  were  withheld. 

The  Governor  of  Singapore  sent  the  H.E.  I.C.  's  steamer,  Hooghly,  in  November 
1859,  to  safeguard  British  interests,  but  there  was  no  need  of  her  services  then,  and 
she  left  almost  immediately. 

R 


242  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Tunjang's  fate  is  not  recorded.  The  Dutch  offered  to 
deliver  him  up  for  punishment,  but  it  was  left  to  them  to  deal 
with  him,  and  no  doubt  they  dealt  severely.  The  Datu  Haji 
died  at  Malacca,  and  Bandar  Kasim  in  Kuching.  The 
confiscation  of  his  property  was  deemed  sufficient  punish- 
ment, but  he  was  not  permitted  to  return  to  Sadong.  The 
last  phase  of  Sherip  Masahor  is  recorded  in  the  next 
chapter. 

We  will  now  briefly  follow  the  Rajah's  movements  in 
England,  whither  he  had  gone  mainly  for  a  rest,  which  was, 
however,  denied  him.  To  add  to  the  mental  worries  caused 
by  intense  desire  to  safeguard  the  future  of  his  adopted 
country,  he  was  visited  by  a  grave  bodily  affliction. 

His  reception  by  Court  and  by  Ministers  was  more  cordial 
than  on  his  previous  visit  to  England,  and  he  was  publicly 
entertained  at  Liverpool  and  Manchester,  but  shortly  after- 
wards he  was  struck  down  by  a  stroke  of  paralysis.  Though 
some  months  passed  before  he  recovered  his  bodily  strength, 
the  vigour  of  his  mind  remained  unimpaired. 

In  his  efforts  to  obtain  protection  he  was  backed  by 
many  influential  friends,  and  by  public  bodies.  The 
Birmingham  Chamber  of  Commerce  memorialised  the  Govern- 
ment to  restore  the  protection  afforded  to  Sarawak  up  to 
1 85 1,  and  a  large  and  influential  deputation,  representing 
the  mercantile  interests  of  Liverpool,  Manchester,  Glasgow, 
and,  to  some  extent,  London,  with  several  members  of 
Parliament,  waited  upon  Lord  Derby  with  the  same  object. 
Lord  Derby's  refusal  was  severely  commented  upon  by  the 
Times,  and  it  occasioned  a  difference  in  the  Cabinet.  The 
subject  would  again  have  been  entertained,  had  not  the 
Government  shortly  afterwards  gone  out  on  their  Reform 
Bill.1 

The  Rajah  was  left  with  but  little  hope.  He  felt  that  the 
Government  of  both  parties  desired  to  be  rid  of  Sarawak, 
and  that  the  country  was  indifferent  ;  moreover  he  was  fully 
assured  that  Sarawak  could  not  stand  alone.  England 
failing,  Holland  was  tried,  but  "  Holland,"  he  writes,  "  declares 
openly  that  there  is  an  understanding  the  country  shall  fall 

1   From  Miss  Jacobs,  The  Raja  of  Sarawak. 


THE   SHERIP   MASAHOR  243 

to  them  after  my  death."  Then  France  was  tried  ;  and  the 
protection  of  France,  the  Rajah  was  of  opinion,  could  have 
been  gained  had  the  Tuan  Besar  been  whole-hearted  in  the 
negotiations.  But  the  Tuan  Besar  did  not  share  the  Rajah's 
opinion  that  Sarawak  could  not  maintain  its  independence 
unsupported,  and  disliked  the  idea  of  handing  the  country- 
over  to  a  Foreign  Power,  and  in  this  he  was  supported  by 
the  Tuan  Muda.  The  Rajah  wisely  gave  way  to  what  has 
since  proved  to  be  the  better  judgment  of  his  nephews,  and  he 
wrote  to  the  Tuan  Muda,  "  as  my  views  for  Sarawak  are  at 
an  end,  and  as  we  are  now  to  run  the  risk,  with  a  rational 
prospect  of  success,  to  sustain  the  Government  I  will  loyally 
and  cheerfully  work  to  falsify  my  own  convictions.  Time 
brings  changes,  and  may  work  upon  the  British  Government. 
But  it  was  a  fatal  mistake  to  let  slip  an  opportunity  of  safety, 
recognition,  and  permanency,1  and  to  allow  an  English  preju- 
dice to  interfere  with  Sarawak.  However,  it  is  past,  and  the 
juncture  requires  union,  and  united  we  will  cheerily  work," 
— and  time  was  very  shortly  to  work  on  the  British  Govern- 
ment in  favour  of  Sarawak. 

But  pecuniary  failure  was  also  staring  Sarawak  in  the  face. 
The  Borneo  Company,  Limited,  suffering  under  severe  losses 
consequent  on  the  Chinese  insurrection  and  the  continued 
disturbed  state  of  the  country,  were  losing  heart  ;  they 
considered  it  advisable  to  withdraw  from  Sarawak,  and  such 
a  step  on  their  part  would  have  been  fatal  to  the  invest- 
ment of  further  British  capital  in  the  country.  In  the  next 
place,  the  Rajah  was  being  pressed  for  repayment  of  a  large 
sum  of  money,  which,  for  the  purposes  of  the  Government,  he 
had  found  it  necessary  to  borrow  after  the  ruin  caused  by  the 
Chinese  insurrection.  But  "  the  Borneo  Company  persevered, 
and  has  long  since  reaped  the  benefit  of  so  doing,"  2  and  a  kind 
and  ever  staunch  friend,  Miss  (afterwards  Baroness)  Burdett- 
Coutts,  relieved  him  of  his  pressing  debt  by  a  loan  free  of 
interest.  She  further  advanced  the  money  to  purchase  a 
steamer,  a  very  urgent  need,  and  the  Rajah  bought  a  little 
vessel  which  he  named  the  Rainbow — "  the  emblem  of  hope," 

1  Referring  to  the  protection  of  France. 
-  Miss  Jacobs,  op.  cit.      For  a  special  account  of  this  Company  see  Chap.  XVI. 


^44 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


and  never  was  a  rainbow  after  a  storm  more  welcome.  Of  her 
the  Tuan  Muda  wrote  that  "  she  was  welcomed  as  a  god-send 
of  no  ordinary  description,  whereby  communication  could  be 
quickly  carried  on  and  outposts  relieved  or  reinforced  within 
a  short  time.  She  was  the  small  piece  of  iron  and  machinery 
which  could  carry  Sarawak's  flag,  and  raise  the  name  of  the 
Government  in  the  minds  of  the  people  along  the  coast." 


A  testimonial  to  the  Rajah  had  also  been  raised  by 
public  subscription  "  as  a  simple,  earnest,  and  affectionate 
testimony  of  friends  to  a  noble  character  and  disinterested 
services — services  which,  instead  of  enriching,  had  left  their 
author  broken  by  illness  and  weariness  of  heart,  with  threaten- 
ing poverty."1  With  a  portion  of  this  fund  he  purchased 
Burrator,  a  small  estate  in  the  parish  of  Sheepstor,  on  the  fringe 
of  Dartmoor,  in  Devon.  It  was  then  very  much  out  of  the 
world,  having  no  station  nearer  than  Plymouth,  some  miles 
off,  and  the  intervening  roads  were  steep,  narrow,  and  bad. 
The  situation  is  singularly  picturesque  ;   a  moorland  village, 

Sir  Thomas  Fair  bairn,  Bart. 


THE  SHERIP   MASAHOR  245 

with  a  church  of  granite  under  the  bold  tor  that  gives  its 
name  to  the  place.  Its  wildness  and  seclusion  charmed  him, 
and  there  he  settled  in  June,  1859,  "trusting  to  live  in 
retirement,  in  peace  ;  but  there  is  no  peace  for  me  with 
Sarawak  in  such  a  state,"  for  the  news  of  the  Malay 
conspiracies  caused  him  further  distress  of  mind,  and  he 
resolved  to  return  to  Sarawak. 


CHAPTER    VIII 


MUKA 


N  1856,  the 
Honourable  G. 
\V.  Edwardes  had 
been  appointed 
Governor  of  La- 
buan  ;  Mr.  Spenser 
St.  John  being 
Consul  -  General  at 
Bruni.  The  Governor  was  known  to  have  imbibed  all 
the  prejudices  and  antipathies  fostered  in  England  by- 
Mr.  Gladstone  and  his  tail  ;  and  he  was  eager  in  every- 
thing to  hamper  the  development  of  the  little  State  of 
Sarawak.  He  was  not,  however,  authorised  to  interfere  in 
the  relations  between  Bruni  and  Sarawak,  nor  in  the  internal 
affairs  of  these  States,  where  he  had  no  jurisdiction  ;  but 
when  the  Consul-General  left  on  leave  early  in  i860,  the 
Consular  Office  was  handed  over  to  him,  and  he  was  then 
placed  in  a  position  to  give  vent  to  his  bias,  and,  as  Sir 
Spenser  St.  John  remarks,  "he  was  delighted  to  get  a  chance 
of  giving  a  blow  to  Sarawak."  With  regard  to  Sherip  Masahor, 
"  he  acted  against  his  better  judgment,"  and  with  regard  to  the 

246 


MUKA  247 

subsequent  events  at  Muka  "  against  the  strong  advice  of  his 
own  experienced  officers."  1 

Sherip  Masahor,  after  having  been  driven  out  of  Sarawak, 
retired  to  Muka,  and,  having  established  his  family  and 
numerous  followers  there,  passed  on  to  Bruni  to  lay  his  case 
before  the  Sultan.  Consul-General  St.  John  was  then  on 
the  point  of  leaving,  but  before  his  departure  he  received 
information  from  the  Sultan  which  left  little  doubt  "  that 
Masahor  had  instigated  the  murder  of — had,  in  fact,  by  his 
paid  agents,  murdered  —  Messrs.  Fox  and  Steele.""  On  his 
way  to  England  Mr.  St.  John  visited  Kuching,  and  there 
obtained  evidence  which  quite  convinced  him  of  the  Sherip's 
guilt,  and  he  then  wrote  to  the  Sultan,  calling  upon  him  to 
deliver  up  the  Sherip  to  the  Sarawak  Government.  But  this 
letter  passing  into  acting  Consul-General  Edwardes'  hands 
was  suppressed  by  him.  He  had  seen  the  plausible  Sherip, 
who  had  been  sent  to  him  by  the  Sultan,  and  not  only 
declined  to  believe  in  his  guilt,  but  advised  the  Sultan  that 
his  detention  was  not  justifiable,  and  that  he  should  be 
permitted  to  return  to  Muka  ;  there  to  watch  and  if  needs  be 
oppose  the  aggression  of  the  Rajah's  nephews.  To  add  fuel 
to  the  flame,  he  led  the  Sultan  to  believe  that  prosperous 
Sarawak  would  soon  be  restored  to  Bruni — a  tempting 
prospect  for  the  covetous  and  plundering  nobles. 

Writing  to  the  Tuan  Besar,  under  date  July  4,  1 860, 
Governor  Edwardes  says  : — 

After  careful  consideration  of  the  documents  sent,  and  examina- 
tion of  the  case,  I  am  unable  to  arrive  at  the  conviction  that  Sherip 
Masahor  is  guilty  of  instigating  the  murders  of  Messrs.  Fox  and 
Steele,  or  of  such  complicity  to  justify  me  to  induce  his  Highness  to 
surrender  him. 

His  Highness,  and  the  Rajahs,  have  expressed  the  most  earnest 
desire  to  further  the  ends  of  justice,  and  to  afford  every  assistance  to 
the  Sarawak  Government.      I  have  full  confidence  in  their  sincerity. 

I  have  not  hesitated  to  inform  his  Highness  and  the  Rajahs  that 
I  consider  the  evidence  insufficient  and  that  he  (Sherip  Masahor) 
could  not  with  justice  be  surrendered. 

As  regards  the  Tuan  Muda's  actions  in  attacking  and 

1   Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke.  2  Idem. 


24S  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

driving  Sherip  Masahor  out  of  Sarawak,  Mr.  Edwardes  wrote 
that  these  "  have  greatly  prejudiced  the  British  name  and 
character  in  this  country,  and  have  engendered  a  strong  feel- 
ing of  hostility  to  this  colony  (Labuan)." 

In  obedience  to  instructions  the  poor  Sherip  had  gone  to 
Kuching  from  Serikei,  taking  certain  Government  monies  and 
properties.  In  the  Sarawak  river  he  had  met  the  Tuan 
Muda  coming  down,  and  he  then  received  orders  to  follow  hirn 
and  join  in  an  attack  on  Sadong.  He  obeyed,  and  on 
entering  the  Sadong  river  brought  up  and  anchored,  the  Tuan 
Muda  going  on.  The  same  evening  the  Tuan  Muda  dropped 
down,  anchored  close  to  his  prahu,  sent  and  borrowed  his 
small  boat,  and  the  next  morning  unexpectedly  fired  upon 
him.  This  is  the  story  the  Sherip  told  the  Governor  at  Bruni, 
and  this  is  the  story  the  Governor  found  it  suitable  to  his 
purpose  to  believe,  though  he  Jwped  it  was  not  true,  and  that 
he  would  be  able  "  to  clear  away  so  great  a  stain  upon  the 
British  name."  1 

The  energetic  Sherip,  before  he  left  Muka  had  stirred  up 
his  brother-in-law,  the  sleepy  Pangiran  Xipa,  in  charge  there, 
to  reconstruct  and  strengthen  the  defences  of  the  place,  and 
there  he  was  joined  by  his  Igan  and  Segalang  people.  No 
Sarawak  traders  were  allowed  to  enter  the  port  to  obtain 
raw  sago,  and  the  Muka  people  were  forbidden  to  have  any 
commercial  dealings  with  Kuching.  A  vessel  chartered  by 
a  Madras  trader,  a  British  subject,  was  prohibited  under  the 
heaviest  penalties  from  entering  the  Sarawak  river,  and 
two  of  his  companions,  also  British  subjects,  were  detained 
as  hostages  against  his  doing  so.  A  fleet  of  twenty-five 
Sarawak  vessels  had  been  forced  to  collect  at  Bruit,  permis- 
sion having  been  refused  to  enter  Muka  to  load  sago  ;  and 
the  sago  factories  in  Kuching  were  rendered  idle. 

From  Bruni  two  agents  had  arrived  at  Muka,  the  Bandari 
Samsu  and  Makoda  Muhammad,  whose  sole  business  was 
to  spread  false  reports  for  the  purpose  of  stirring  up  feelings 
of  hostility  against  the  English  in  Sarawak.  A  spear  (the 
usual  token  of  a  call  to  arms)  had  been  sent  through  the  Sea- 
Dayak  countries  under  Sarawak  rule  by  the  Sherip  to  order 

1   Extracted  from  Governor  Edwardes'  letter  to  the  Tuan  Besar  of  May  25,  i860. 


MUKA  249 

the  Dayaks  in  the  names  of  the  Bruni  Rajahs  to  repair  to 
Muka,  and  that  would  have  led  to  the  coast,  from  Rejang  to 
Bintulu,  under  the  Sultan's  rule,  being  ravaged  by  thousands 
of  Dayaks,  and  the  heads  taken  of  every  man,  woman,  and 
child  met  by  them  ;  fortunately,  however,  the  Sarawak 
officials  were  able  to  keep  the  Dayaks  in. 

The  Tuan  Muda  had  received  a  letter  from  the  Pangiran 
Temanggong  couched  in  the  most  friendly  terms,  repudiating 
the  acts  of  Nipa,  and  informing  him  that  the  Muka  river  was 
to  be  opened  for  trade  to  all  alike  ;  but  in  the  meantime  the 
Bruni  Court,  always  playing  a  double  game,  had  despatched 
the  two  agents  above  mentioned,  with  an  order  that  the 
Sarawak  nakodas  were  not  to  be  allowed  to  fly  the  Sarawak 
flag  at  Muka,  nor  to  trade  directly  with  the  Muka  people, 
but  only  through  the  Bruni  Pangirans. 

Acting  upon  the  Temanggong's  assurance,  the  Sarawak 
vessels  had  gone  to  Muka,  but  off  the  mouth  the  nakodas 
had  been  warned  that  they  would  be  fired  on  if  they  entered, 
and  the  bearer  of  a  friendly  letter  from  the  Tuan  Besar  to 
the  Pangiran  Nipa  was  refused  admittance.  With  the  aid 
of  the  Temanggong's  letter,  the  Tuan  Besar  determined  to 
try  by  friendly  negotiations  to  get  Pangiran  Nipa  to  be 
reasonable,  and  failing  that  to  send  the  Tuan  Muda  on  to 
Bruni  to  complain  to  the  Sultan. 

In  June,  i860,  they  anchored  off  the  bar,  and  a  Sambas 
Malay,  the  nakoda  of  a  vessel  flying  Dutch  colours,  was  com- 
missioned to  take  in  a  letter  saying  that  the  Tuan  Besar  had 
come  as  a  friend,  and  as  bearer  of  a  letter  from  the  Pangiran 
Temanggong  of  Bruni,  to  the  effect  that  Muka  was  not  to  be 
closed  to  Sarawak  traders.  No  reply  was  vouchsafed,  and 
with  telescopes  it  was  observed  from  the  gunboats  that  earth- 
works were  being  thrown  up  at  the  mouth  of  the  river.  The 
Tuan  Besar  then  decided  to  take  up  the  message  himself, 
and  two  small  boats  were  sent  in  to  sound  the  bar,  upon 
which  a  large  war  prahu  came  out  and  fired  at  them.  This 
was  a  declaration  of  war,  and  the  Tuan  Besar  resolved  to  let 
them  have  what  they  invoked. 

The  following  is  an  account  of  the  affair  as  given  by  the 
Tuan  Muda  in  his  book,  Ten   Years  in  Sarawak,  1866  : 


250 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


We  plainly  perceived  that  the  enemy  was  preparing  in  earnest  for 
opposition.  Temporary  stockades  were  being  erected  at  the  entrance 
and  many  hundreds  of  people  were  collecting  heaps  of  wood  in 
various  places  on  the  shore ;  these  were  to  be  burnt,  and  their  inten- 
tion was  to  raise  a  strong  breeze  to  drive  us  from  our  anchors  and 
drift  us  on  to  the  coast.  The  idea  of  the  effect  was  correct,  that 
excess  of  heat  would  produce  a  vacuum,  and  cause  an  inshore  current 
of  air.  However,  their  fires  were  not  sufficient,  and  the  expected 
effect  did  not  follow. 


It 

Plan  of  operations  at 

t  ^ 
W- 
«.«j 

Sago 

MUKA 

S  aao 

A    Old  moulti  »om  dry  P'esert  '".'_•'    1    8 
CCCC     Enemy s   s/oc*odn 

P 

a  n 

a  t 
6 

tons 

BO: 

Plantations 

Disz     Tht  Tuan  Sesars  camps 
£l23S4    Positions  of  Venus   Boo**  Of  E 2 

F     ftortgiron  Ladas  fortified  nouse 

Badenga 

J 

STL 

J 

lill 

g 

le 

G    Route  of  the  Tuan  tfudos  force 
H    Panoirdtt  NipdS  fortified  house 

M     UA\'::.K    A 


Sago 


Sago 


/<5> 


I 


® 


The  town  of  Muka  lies  about  two  miles  up  the  river  of 
the  same  name,  and  is  situated  on  both  banks  of  that  river 
and  of  another,  the  Telian,  smaller  in  volume,  that  here  flows 
into  it.  At  the  mouth  was  not  only  the  usual  bar,  the 
channel  through  which  had  been  staked  to  obstruct  the 
entrance,  but  also  a  long  sandy  finger  of  land  on  the  north 
side,  which  at  that  time  deflected  the  tortuous  stream.  Behind 
the  gunboats  was  a  fleet  of  traders  impatient  to  enter  and 
obtain  their  cargoes  ;  for  which  they  were  more  eager  than 
for  exposure  to  danger. 


MUKA  251 

We  had  received  an  announcement  of  a  large  party  among  the 
enemy  being  in  favour  of  at  once  making  peaceful  overtures ;  and 
even  the  headman's  brother,  Pangiran  Lada,  advised  the  opening  of 
their  river,  and  admission  of  our  boats  to  trade ;  but  the  headman 
himself,  Pangiran  Nipa,  was  firm  in  the  grasp  of  Sherip  Masahor's 
mother  and  sister,  who  were  hostile  to  any  approach  to  friendly 
relations.  Many  of  our  people  had  relatives  among  the  enemy, 
some  even  had  wives  living  in  Muka.  A  council  of  war  was  held 
on  board  the  Venus l  in  the  evening,  at  which  all  the  chiefs  and 
Europeans  were  present.  It  was  decided  that  an  advance  should 
be  made  next  morning  for  the  entrance  to  the  Muka  river.  A  land- 
ing party  was  appointed  to  cut  off  the  narrow  point  which  extends  to 
the  mouth.  By  landing  there  and  making  a  demonstration,  the 
enemy  would  give  up  their  lower  stockade,  and  the  pinnaces  might 
then  have  free  ingress  over  the  bar  and  through  the  narrow  channel. 

The  Tuan  Besar  took  charge  of  the  landing  party,  which, 
however,  could  not  effect  much,  as  it  was  so  small,  and  a 
despatch  was  sent  off  to  Kuching  to  hurry  up  reinforcements. 
The  Tuan  Muda  was  in  command  of  the  little  fleet  of  three 
small  gunboats. 

Morning  came,  and  we  were  on  the  alert  before  the  sun  had 
given  any  signs  of  approaching  the  horizon,  and  within  a  few  minutes 
we  were  gliding  along  (the  Tuan  Muda  aboard  the  Venus),  with  a 
light  though  full  breeze  steering  to  the  nearest  point  for  crossing  the 
bar ;  then  we  again  came  to  anchor.  Our  first  work  was  to  draw 
the  spikes,  which  were  soon  shaken  with  bowline  knots  let  down  to 
their  base.  We  opened  a  passage  wide  enough  for  an  entry,  and 
with  one  boat  in  tow  we  advanced  towards  the  mouth.  The  sea 
was  as  calm  as  a  pond,  and  the  morning  bright  without  a  cloud. 
We  had  crossed  over  the  bar  with  only  six  inches  under  our  keel, 
and  a  stake  had  dragged  along  under  our  bottom  without  doing 
injury  even  to  the  copper. 

One  boat,  commanded  by  a  gallant  native,  Penglima  Seman  (who 
has  so  often  been  mentioned  before),  was  ahead  of  us,  and  drawing 
towards  the  enemy's  stockades,  at  which  we  opened  fire  directly  we 
were  within  range.  The  enemy  soon  abandoned  this  position  and 
made  off  up  the  river  as  fast  as  boats  would  carry  them.  We  then 
entered  the  river,  and  anchored  about  half-way  between  the  mouth 
and  the  enemy's  fortifications  to  await  further  orders,  and  become 
better  acquainted  with  the  position  of  what  forts  and  obstacles  they 
might  have  thrown  in  our  way,  to  allow  time  also  for  the  remainder 

1  A  sailing  gunboat  of  50  tons,  just  launched,  and  manned  with  a  crew  of  twelve 
Englishmen  and  twenty  Malays. 


252  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

of  our  flotilla  to  join  us.  We  inspected  the  enemy's  fortifications  in 
the  afternoon,  and  found  that  they  were  holding  a  high  and  formid- 
able-looking stockaded  house  of  two  stories,  the  lower  having  port- 
holes for  large  guns,  and  the  upper  pierced  with  small  apertures  for 
the  firing  of  lelahs  (brass  ordnance  of  native  manufacture).  There 
were  also  small  stockades,  protected  with  sacks  full  of  raw  sago. 

The  position  was  well  chosen,  and  had  thorough  command  of  a 
long  reach  in  the  river.  A  few  yards  below  the  fort  were  two  large 
booms  fastened  across  the  river,  with  no  apparent  passage  for  boats 
to  pass  through. 

A  landing  party  was  despatched  in  the  morning  to  reconnoitre  the 
enemy's  position,  and  a  temporary  enclosure  was  then  thrown  up  by 
our  party  beyond  the  range  of  the  enemy's  guns,  to  form  a  basis  for 
active  operations,  from  which  nearer  stockades  could  be  fed  and 
watched, — 

that  is  to  say,  advanced  stockades  could  be  thrown  up  and 
kept  supplied  with  men  and  ammunition. 

The  Tuan  Besar  was  at  the  head  of  two  hundred  men, 
but  on  a  good  many  of  these  no  reliance  could  be  placed. 
After  having  established  a  basis  of  operations  on  the  spit  of 
land  at  the  mouth,  he  was  to  advance  in  the  direction  of  the 
town.  This  was  done,  and  as  the  force  approached  it  was 
saluted  with  fire  from  the  guns  in  the  stockades  and  houses, 
but  that  did  little  damage,  and  the  party  set  to  work  in- 
trenching itself.  "  Nearly  the  first  shot  fired  entered  a 
prog-basket  and  smashed  a  bottle  of  gin.  A  few  only 
were  wounded,  and  the  escape  from  further  casualties  was 
surprising." 

The  Tuan  Muda  was  now  resolved  on  running  the 
gauntlet  past  the  town,  up  the  river,  so  as  to  place  it 
between  himself  and  the  land  force  under  the  Tuan  Besar, 
whose  position  was  in  danger.  It  would  be  a  hazardous  as 
well  as  a  daring  attempt,  but  he  prepared  for  it  in  an 
ingenious  manner,  by  constructing  a  stockade  round  the 
Venus.  Long  beams  were  placed  across  the  schooner,  and 
to  them  a  framework  was  attached  horizontally,  and  upon 
this  frame  a  stockade  was  erected,  screening  the  deck 
and  the  sides  to  the  water's  edge,  so  that  the  /  renus  assumed 
the  appearance  of  a  monstrous  "  Jack  in  the  Green "  or 
haystack.  The  thick  planks  reached  to  five  feet  above  the 
bulwarks,  and   were   pierced   with   holes  through  which  the 


MUKA  253 

guns  could  play  on  the  enemy's  fortified  houses  as  the  Venus 
drifted  up-stream  with  the  tide.  This  took  two  days  to 
accomplish.  Meanwhile  on  shore  the  land  party  had  thrown 
up  a  bank  for  protection,  and  further  the  natives  had  dug 
pits  about  two  feet  deep  in  which  they  lay  after  duty,  and 
were  thus  completely  protected  from  the  enemy's  shot. 

But  no  progress  up  the  river  could  be  effected  till  the 
booms  had  been  removed,  and  this  would  not  be  an  easy 
matter,  as  they  were  commanded  by  the  forts.  It  could  be 
effected  only  at  night,  and  by  expert  and  daring  swimmers. 
The  Tuan  Muda,  Pangiran  Matusin,  and  a  nakodah,  under- 
took the  task.  Under  cover  of  the  darkness,  in  a  small 
canoe,  they  stole  softly  up  the  bank,  unobserved,  and  then 
the  pangiran  and  nakoda  entering  the  water,  with  their 
swords  set  to  work  to  sever  the  rattans  that  held  the  booms 
in  place.  These  rattans  had  been  twisted  together  to  the 
thickness  of  a  hawser  cable,  and  had  to  be  cut  under  water. 
It  was  an  anxious  time  for  the  Tuan  Muda,  as  any  moment 
might  have  brought  a  volley  on  their  heads. 

In  an  hour  they  were  severed.  Towards  the  latter  part  of  the 
time,  the  enemy  were  on  the  alert,  and  one  boom  moved  slightly 
with  the  tide,  when  a  few  harmless  shots  ensued,  which  we  heard 
pass  over  our  heads  among  the  leaves.  At  length  the  two  men 
returned,  ,and  the  enemy  cried  out,  "  Our  booms  are  adrift,"  and 
forthwith  banged  away,  but  never  caught  sight  of  us.  Matusin  was 
so  exhausted  that  I  had  to  assist  him  into  the  boat,  and  at  first  I 
thought  he  was  wounded. 

The  tide  was  ebbing,  and  the  booms,  now  disengaged, 
floated  downwards  towards  the  sea.  The  passage  was  clear 
for  the  venture  upwards  of  the  Venus.  Messrs.  Watson 
and  John  Channon  accompanied  the  Tuan  Muda,  who  had  a 
crew  of  nine  Europeans,  besides  the  Malay  complement. 

On  that  night  the  attempt  was  to  be  made,  anchor  to 
be  raised  half  an  hour  before  midnight,  when  the  tide  was 
flowing.  Happily  the  weather  favoured,  as  a  thick  mist  and 
drizzling  rain  set  in. 

We  triced  up  the  awnings  and  up  anchor,  when  the  tide 
swept  us  on  so  swiftly  that  I  soon  found  it  would  be  hopeless 
trying  to  turn  the  vessel,  so  we  drifted  stern  first,  with  two  oars  out 
on  each  side  to  assist  in  steering.      Our  guns  were  loaded  and  ready, 


254 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


and  not  a  voice  was  to  be  heard  as  we  silently  and  swiftly  drifted 
along.  I  stood  on  the  top  of  the  stockade  to  pilot  the  vessel. 
We  were  soon  off  the  camp  (of  the  land  force  under  the  Tuan 
Besar),  from  which  I  was  hailed  to  look  out  as  the  enemy  would 
fire  on  us  directly.  I  replied  "  All  right,"  and  then  stepped  on 
deck  to  be  under  cover.  Just  as  I  was  so  doing,  a  shot  was  fired 
from  the  bank  close  abreast  of  us.  Another  five  minutes,  and  we 
were  fairly  in  the  fray.  I  heard  the  enemy  call  "  Look  out,  the 
pinnace  is  drifting  up,'"  and  they  blazed  on  us  volley  after  volley,  as 
we  lay  within  five  or  six  yards  of  their  fortifications.  Watson 
watched  to  fire  as  the  enemy  opened  their  ports,  but  the  haze  was 
far  too  dense  for  us  to  discern  anything  at  all ;  I  soon  found, 
however,  that  we  were  not  progressing,  and  had  fouled  something. 
We  swung  to  and  fro,  at  times  close  under  the  enemy's  guns,  and 
then  away  into  the  centre  of  the  stream. 

We  let  go  our  anchor  and  hauled  it  up  again,  but  all  to 
no  purpose,  and  we  were  at  a  loss  to  know  what  had  fouled  us. 
We  then  laid  out  a  kedge  and  hove  it  home,  without  moving  clear, 
and  every  now  and  then  we  blazed  our  6-pounder  of  grape  into  the 
enemy,  while  they  peppered  us  incessantly.  The  position  was  far 
from  pleasant  with  guns  banging  all  around  and  the  fog  and 
smoke  so  dense  as  to  preclude  a  possibility  of  making  out  our 
position.  At  length  I  found  that  a  large  rattan  made  fast  to  one  of 
the  booms  which  had  been  cut  adrift  was  holding  us.  The  rattan 
was  across  the  river,  and  the  enemy  had  evidently  entertained  the 
intention  of  reconstructing  their  booms  that  night.  I  ordered  a 
plucky  young  native  1  to  jump  down  and  cut  it,  which  he  did  with 
two  strokes  of  his  sword.  This  had  been  holding  us  now  for  more 
than  two  hours  under  the  enemy's  fire. 

Directly  the  rattan  was  gone,  the  schooner  swung 
sufficiently  to  bring  the  guns  to  bear  on  a  lofty  building 
whence  most  of  the  firing  had  come,  and,  after  a  round  of 
"rape,  the  wailing  of  women  was  heard  issuing  from  it,  and 
the  enemy's  fire  was  silenced.  Xext  morning  it  was  ascer- 
tained that  the  Pangiran  Lada,  brother  of  Pangiran  Nipa, 
and  some  of  his  followers  had  been  killed.  The  tide  was 
still  flowing,  and  the  Venus  drifted  on  above  the  town,  and 
anchor  was  cast  within  range  of  all  the  houses.  Only  one 
small  stockaded  place  continued  to  fire  on  her. 

Four  hours  had  elapsed  since  we  started  ;  for  three  we  had  been 
exposed  to  fire.     When  we  had  passed  the  danger,  our  men  gave 

1  Dagang,  a  brave  Balan  Dayak,  who  subsequently  filled  man}-  positions  of  trust, 
as  j\,        -  tit  and  native  officer,  now  retired  on  pension. 


MUKA  255 

three  hearty  cheers,  which  was  answered  by  the  party  in  the  camp. 
At  daylight  we  found  a  goodly  mess  on  our  decks,  shot,  pieces  of 
iron,  and  nails  in  bucketfuls  ;  our  spars  and  ropes  had  been  con- 
siderably damaged  and  cut  about.  The  awnings  were  riddled  with 
grape  and  nails ;  scarce  a  square  foot  had  escaped  uncut,  but  only 
two  men  were  wounded,  one,  an  Englishman,  in  the  face.  The 
other  was  struck  in  the  leg  by  a  splinter  ;  but  the  barricading  of 
wood  had  most  effectually  saved  us  all ;  without  it,  I  don't  think 
one  would  have  lived  to  tell  the  story. 

After  an  hour's  work,  the  deck  had  been  cleared,  and  then  we 
opened  fire  upon  the  enemy's  village,  or  rather  on  the  headman's 
house  (Pangiran  Nipa's),  which  had  guns  mounted  on  the  roof. 
The  women  and  children  had  all  been  taken  up  a  small  stream  on 
which  the  village  is  situate.1  The  only  return  was  kept  up  by  the 
small  stockade  which  had  troubled  us  on  the  previous  night,  and 
this  place  must  have  been  guarded  by  some  very  determined  fellows. 
The  whole  country — if  only  we  had  an  available  force  with  us 
— was  in  our  hands.  To  all  appearance  the  place  was  deserted, 
and  it  provoked  us  beyond  measure  not  to  be  able  to  take  the 
initiative.  In  the  course  of  the  afternoon  we  determined  to  pull 
higher  up  the  river,  and  take  up  a  position  to  communicate  with 
our  force  at  the  mouth.  We  should  also  be  above  the  enemy's 
fortifications,  and  enabled  to  receive  and  support  those  who  were 
inclined  to  favour  our  cause. 

Here  the  Tuan  Muda  was  constrained  to  remain  for 
over  a  month,  as  was  also  the  Tuan  Besar  below  the  town, 
waiting  for  reinforcements  from  Kuching. 

Desultory  fighting,  firing  at  the  forts  and  from  them, 
and  attempts  made  to  waylay  those  who  passed  between  the 
camp  and  the  Venus  occupied  the  tedious  interval,  but  at 
length  the  desired  help  came  ;  and  those  who  arrived  were 
divided  between  the  force  under  the  Tuan  Besar,  which 
would  be  engaged  in  a  frontal  attack  on  the  town,  whilst  the 
other  force,  under  the  Tuan  Muda,  would  march  inland  to 
make  a  flanking  movement. 

Everything  being  ready,  the  Tuan  Muda  started,  draw- 
ing with  him  a  6-pounder  gun.  The  Englishmen  of  his 
party  numbered  nine.  The  advance  was  by  no  means  easy. 
The  ground  was  rough  and  treacherous,  full  of  bog-holes, 
and  the  enemy  hovered  around,  and  kept  blazing  at  the 
party  from  every  cover. 

1  The  Telian. 


256  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

"  Pangiran  Matusin  was  indefatigable  ;  no  weight  seemed 
too  heavy  for  his  powerful  limbs  to  lift,  and  although  a  man 
of  rank,  he  worked  as  one  of  his  slaves.  At  midnight  we 
fitted  our  6-pounder  brass  gun,  and  fired  one  shot  to  see  that 
it  was  ready.  The  enemy  fired  all  night,  and  the  quantity 
of  ammunition  expended  must  have  been  considerable." 

On  the  morrow,  at  daybreak,  all  preparations  were  made 
for  a  further  advance,  when  a  messenger  arrived  from  the 
Tuan  Besar  ordering  the  cessation  of  further  hostilities,  as 
Mr.  Edwardes,  Governor  of  Labuan,  had  arrived  off  the 
mouth  of  the  Muka  in  the  H.E.I.C.'s  steamer  Victoria,  had 
peremptorily  forbidden  them,  and  had  threatened,  unless  he 
were  instantly  obeyed,  that  he  would  fire  a  broadside  upon 
the  Sarawak  camp.  He  further  sent  a  messenger  into  Muka 
to  inform  the  Pangiran  Nipa  that  he  and  his  were  taken 
under  British  protection,  and  to  forbid  any  more  hostilities 
whilst  the  Sarawak  forces  were  withdrawing. 

The  indignation  and  consternation  produced  by  this 
interference  can  be  better  imagined  than  described.  The 
Tuan  Muda  was  of  course  obliged  to  withdraw  and  descend 
the  river,  jeered  at  by  the  enemy  at  every  point,  who,  regard- 
less of  the  orders  of  the  Governor  of  Labuan,  continued  to 
fire  at  the  party,  which  fire  they  did  not  venture  to  return. 

We  reached  the  headquarters  shortly  after  mid-day,  and  I  was 
present  at  a  discussion  before  the  Governor,  an  old  and  infirm 
man,  who  most  doggedly  attempted  by  every  means  in  his  power 
to  bring  disgrace  on  our  little  State.  He  expressed  himself  with 
marked  favour  towards  the  Sherip  Masahor  and  his  followers  here, 
notwithstanding  that  they  had  been  the  murderers  of  two  English- 
men only  the  year  before.  The  Governor  held  interviews  in  the 
houses  of  the  natives  of  Muka  (our  enemies),  and  reports  were 
listened  to,  even  credited,  of  the  demands  and  deceits  of  the 
Sarawak  government.  None  but  the  most  blind  and  prejudiced 
could  have  entertained  a  doubt  of  the  absurdity  of  these  assertions, 
but  the  Governor's  duty  appeared  to  be  a  preconcerted  business  to 
disgrace  our  flag,1  and  to  defeat  our  objects,  which  were,  firstly, 
to  open  trade  ;  secondly,  expel  Sherip  Masahor  and  his  myrmidons, 
and  establish  some  creditable  government  that  would  enable  traders 
to  hold  their  property  and  lives  in  safety. 

1    Under  the  pretext  of  "  having  a  proper  regard  for  British   interests,  and  the 
honour  of  my  country." — Governor  Edwardes  to  the  Tuan  Besar,  July  31,  i860. 


MUKA  257 

He  found  fault  with  the  proceedings  of  Pangiran  Matusin, 
and  was  startled  when  told  the  man  in  question  was  sitting  opposite 
him.  A  few  papers  were  immediately  produced  by  the  Pangiran 
to  justify  his  acts.  The  signatures  of  the  Rajahs  of  Bruni  were 
attached  to  the  documents,  and  the  old  Pangiran's  quiet,  gentle 
voice,  under  as  resolute  an  eye  and  countenance  as  could  be  seen, 
softened  the  Governor's  heart  towards  him. 

If  this  untimely  interference  had  not  taken  place,  the  country 
would  have  been  in  our  hands  in  three  days. 

Under  protest,  and  with  an  intimation  that  the  matter 
would  be  referred  to  the  Foreign  Office,  the  Sarawak  force 
retired,  followed  by  boatloads  of  the  more  peaceful  inhabitants, 
who  entreated  not  to  be  left  to  Sherip  Masahor's  vengeance. 

Governor  Edwardes  informed  the  Tuan  Besar  that  he 
had  received  power  from  the  Sultan  to  interfere,  and  then 
called  upon  him  in  the  name  of  the  Queen  to  retire  from 
Muka  ;  he  was  acting  as  a  minister  of  Bruni  as  well  as  a 
British  official. 

The  Tuan  Besar  was  unwilling  to  risk  a  collision. 

He  need  not  have  paid  any  attention  to  the  Governor's 
summons,  and  it  is  probable  that  had  he  refused  to  listen  to  it, 
Mr.  Edwardes  would  not  have  dared  to  interfere  with  violence. 
But  Captain  Brooke  took  the  wise  course  of  withdrawing  his  force 
and  appealing  for  justice  to  the  British  Government.  For  this 
conciliatory  and  prudent  step  he  received  Lord  Russell's  thanks. 
I  will  not  enlarge  on  Mr.  Edwardes'  conduct,  but  his  constant 
association  with  the  murderers  of  his  countrymen  was  very  much 
commented  upon.1 

Protesting  against  the  action  of  the  Governor  "  as 
seriously  affecting  British  trade  and  compromising  the  safety 
of  British  subjects,"  the  Singapore  Chamber  of  Commerce 
wrote  to  Lord  John  Russell,  October  5,  that  the  Governor 
was  actuated  by  jealousy  of  Sarawak,  "  the  interests  of  that 
colony  (Labuan)  being  in  some  degree  opposed  to  that  of 
the  settlement  of  Sarawak,  the  latter  having  attracted  to 
it  a  large  trade,  part  of  which  might  but  for  the  existence  of 
Sarawak  be  expected  to  find  its  way  to  Labuan." 

Before  the  Tuan  Besar  left  Muka,  the  Governor,  both  by 
word  and  in  writing,  pledged  himself  not  to  leave  Muka  until 
all   the   forts  there  had  been  demolished,  and  he  guaranteed 

1  St.  John,  op.  cit. 

S 


258  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

that  trade  should  be  opened,  and  that  all  those,  both  at  Muka 
and  Oya,  who  had  sided  with  the  Sarawak  Government 
should  not  in  any  way  be  punished.  But  these  were 
promises  he  had  no  intention  to  perform,  neither  had  he  any 
power  to  do  so,  for  he  returned  to  Labuan  the  day  after  the 
Tuan  Besar  had  departed,  and  left  Sherip  Masahor  under 
the  aegis  of  the  British  flag  to  work  his  own  sweet  will  on 
the  people.  By  a  significant  coincidence  the  Sherip's  arrival 
there  had  been  simultaneous  with  his  own. 

Furthermore,  Mr.  Edwardes  had  brought  down  with  him 
a  Bruni  minister,  the  Orang  Kaya  de  Gadong,  the  head  of 
the  Council  of  Twelve,  known  as  "  a  consistent  opponent  of 
any  intercourse  with  Christian  nations  ;  and  when  forced  by 
business  to  sit  and  converse  with  Europeans,  the  expression 
of  his  face  is  most  offensive,  and  he  was  one  of  the  few 
natives  I  have  met  who  appeared  to  long  to  insult  you. 
He  was  one  of  the  most  active  of  those  engaged  in  the 
conspiracy  to  assassinate  the  Rajah  Muda  Hasim,  partly  on 
account  of  his  supposed  attachment  to  the  English  alliance."  ] 
This  was  the  man  who  was  to  act  as  the  Sultan's  agent, 
and  when  the  Governor  had  left  he  cruelly  vindicated  his 
authority  in  the  usual  Bruni  fashion.  He  levied  heavy  fines 
which  he  wrung  from  these  poor  people,  returning  to  Bruni 
with  many  thousand  dollars'  worth  of  property,  and  taking 
with  him  the  names  of  thirty  rebels  to  be  submitted  to  the 
Sultan  as  deserving  of  death.  But  rebels  against  the 
Sultan  they  were  not.  They  had  heard  three  years  before 
the  Sultan's  mandate  enpowering  the  Rajah  to  guard  and 
guide  their  affairs,  ordering  peace,  and  authorising  the  Rajah 
to  punish  any  breach  of  it  ;  they  had  heard  the  Rajah 
pledge  himself  to  punish  any  who  by  their  actions  should 
disturb  it.  Xow  for  forming  a  party  in  favour  of  peace 
and  order,  and  for  holding  themselves  aloof  from  the  real 
disturbers  of  peace,  they  were  handed  over  for  punishment 
to  the  latter  by  a  British  official.  These  unfortunate  people 
could  not  resist.  Resistance  was  rendered  impossible,  as  the 
Orang  Kaya  and  the  Sherip  had  come  down  backed  by  a 
man-of-war,  which  represented  a  power  which  they  well 
1  St.  John,  Life  in  the  Forests  ,•/  th,  Far  Hast. 


MUKA  259 

knew    was    far   stronger   than   the   Sarawak    Government,  to 
which  they  would  have  otherwise  looked  for  help. 

This,  however,  was  not  the  only  evil  caused  by  the 
wanton  and  capricious  act  of  Governor  Edwardes.  The 
whole  country  was  disturbed.  The  peaceably  disposed  were 
filled  with  apprehension,  and  all  the  restless  and  turbulent 
Sea-Dayaks  encouraged  by  reports,  which,  though  exagger- 
ated, were  but  the  natural  consequence  of  the  Governor's 
action,  coupling  his  name  and  the  Sherip's  together  as  the 
real  Rajahs  of  the  country,  prepared  to  protect  the  enemies 
of  the  Sarawak  Government  with  men-of-war.  The  Sherip's 
henchman,  Talip,  the  actual  murderer  of  Steele,  led  a  large 
force  of  Kayans  down  the  Rejang  river,  attacked  the  Katibas, 
and  destroyed  fourteen  Dayak  villages.  This  was  done 
because  these  Dayaks  had  been  staunch  to  the  Tuan  Muda 
against  the  Sherip.  The  Malays  at  Kanowit  were  seized  with 
a  panic,  and  the  Tuan  Besar  seriously  entertained  the  idea  of 
abandoning  the  station,  which  would  have  meant  the  sago 
districts  being  again  exposed  to  the  raids  of  the  Dayaks. 
Sherip  Masahor  was  left  at  Muka,  with  all  the  prestige  of 
having  the  Governor  on  his  side,  to  reorganise  his  plots,  with 
tenfold  more  power  to  do  mischief  than  before  ;  and  just  as 
confidence  had  been  again  established  after  the  late  troubles, 
the  lives  of  the  Europeans  were  again  endangered.  The 
sago  trade  was  ruined.  The  Sarawak  vessels  had  to  return 
empty  ;  the  factories  in  Kuching  to  suspend  work  ;  and  the 
Singapore  schooners  to  sail  without  cargoes. 

Whilst  the  Tuan  Besar  returned  to  the  capital  to  direct 
affairs  there,  the  Tuan  Muda  remained  on  the  coast  to 
oppose  any  aggressive  action  the  Sherip  and  his  Bruni 
colleagues  might  conduct  against  those  within  the  borders, 
as  also  to  counteract  their  growing  influence.  The  Melanaus 
of  Rejang  village,  who  were  not  safe  where  they  were,  to 
the  number  of  2000,  he  saw  safely  moved  to  Seboyau. 
Numbers  of  Muka,  Oya,  and  Matu  people  also  abandoned 
their  homes,  and  shifted  into  Sarawak  territory.  The 
Kalaka  Malays,  although  in  Sarawak  territory,  were  so  near 
the  borders  that  they  did  not  deem  themselves  safe,  and  sent 
an  urgent  message  to  the  Tuan  Muda  for  protection  whilst 


260  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

they  made  their  preparations  for  moving.  He  at  once  went 
to  them,  remained  with  them  until  they  were  ready,  and  then 
in  the  Venus  escorted  them  to  Lingga.  All  these  wretched 
people  had  to  abandon  their  sago  estates  and  gardens,  but 
they  deemed  anything  preferable  to  constant  danger  to  life 
and  liberty,  and  to  being  ground  down  to  supply  the  rapacity 
of  the  Bruni  nobles. 

Fearing  that  many  of  their  people  would  be  led  astray 
by  the  agents  of  Sherip  Masahor,  who  were  now  all  over 
the  country  withdrawing  people  from  their  allegiance  to 
the  Government,  the  well-disposed  Dayak  chiefs  of  the 
Kanowit  earnestly  begged  that  an  English  officer  should 
be  stationed  there.  The  Tuan  Muda  visited  Kanowit 
without  delay,  and  with  the  aid  of  the  people  built  a  new 
fort  in  a  better  position.  Having  obtained  the  sincerest 
promises  from  the  Dayaks  to  protect  and  support  him, 
the  Tuan  Muda  left  young  Mr.  Cruickshank  in  charge, 
and  then  returned  to  Sekrang.  Active  measures  had  also 
to  be  taken  against  a  large  party  of  Dayaks  in  the  Saribas 
who  had  fortified  themselves  in  preparation  for  the  coming 
of  the  Sherip,  and  these  were  driven  out.  But  the  Saribas 
Malays  were  surprisingly  staunch.  "  Enemies  were  numerous 
up  the  rivers  Sekrang,  Saribas,  Kalaka,  Serikei,  and  Kanowit, 
numbering  many  thousands  of  families,  all  of  whom  relied 
on  the  support  of  Sherip  Masahor,"  l  and  these  had  to  be 
watched  and  kept  in  check  by  punitive  forces  despatched  in 
different  directions.  The  heads  of  these  rivers  have  one 
water-shed,  and  the  focus  of  the  malcontented  Dayaks 
was  Rentap's  reputed  impregnable  stronghold  on  Sadok. 
Owing  to  its  situation,  almost  in  the  centre  of  this  water- 
shed, it  was  at  once  a  support  and  a  refuge  to  those  Dayaks, 
and  around  it  they  gathered.  The  powers  of  the  Govern- 
ment during  the  past  few  years  had  been  taxed  to  their 
utmost,  so  that  Rentap  of  necessity  had  been  left  un- 
disturbed, and  with  the  munitions  of  war  supplied  by  the 
Sherip,  and  the  staunch  support  of  the  Kayans  his  power  had 
increased.  But  the  Tuan  Muda  was  not  to  be  denied,  and 
his  fall  was  near. 

1   Ten   Years  in  Sarawak. 


MUKA  261 

In  November,  i860,  the  Rajah  left  England,  and  with 
him  went  the  Consul-General,  Mr.  S.  St.  John,  and  Mr. 
Henry  Stuart  Johnson  ]  to  join  his  uncle's  service.  After 
a  short  detention  in  Singapore  waiting  for  the  Rainbow,  he 
arrived  at  Kuching  on  Feburary  12,  1861. 

The  Consul-General  now  officially  informed  the  Council 
of  Sarawak  that  the  British  Government  disavowed  and 
totally  disapproved  of  Governor  Edwardes'  proceedings. 
But  though  they  reprimanded  him,  they  supported  him  in 
office.  His  term  as  Governor  was,  however,  very  shortly  to 
expire,  but  not  till  he  had  seen,  what  must  have  been  gall 
and  bitterness  to  his  soul,  as  it  certainly  was  to  his  backers 
in  England,  the  cession  by  the  Sultan  to  Sarawak  of  Muka 
and  all  the  region  of  the  sago  plantations,  the  produce  of 
which  he  had  hoped  to  secure  for  Labuan,  and  the  banish- 
ment of  Sherip  Masahor  from  Borneo. 

Mr.  St.  John  went  on  to  Bruni  and  relieved  Mr. 
Edwardes  of  his  position  as  Consul-General,  and  was  the 
tactful  and  just  medium  for  arranging  the  difficulties  pro- 
duced by  the  conduct  of  the  latter.      He  says  : 

I  established  myself  in  the  capital,  to  find  the  Sultan  sulky  at 
the  failure  of  Mr.  Edwardes'  promises.  I  remained  quiet  for  a  few 
weeks,  when  I  found  his  Highness  gradually  coming  round,  but  it 
was  long  ere  I  was  again  established  first  adviser  to  the  Crown,  for 
Mr.  Edwardes'  promises  had  either  been  great,  or  had  been  mis- 
understood, and  they  thought  that  the  British  Government  was  about 
to  remove  the  English  from  Sarawak,  and  return  the  country  to 
them. 2 

In  April  the  Rajah  went  to  Bruni.  The  Sultan  and 
the  wazirs  received  him  warmly,  and  the  good  understanding 
between  the  two  countries  was  established  anew.  The  Sultan 
was  now  anxious  to  place  Muka  and  the  intermediate  places 
under  the  Rajah's  rule,  but  the  latter  waived  this  considera- 
tion  until   hostilities   were   over.      The   Rajah   then  went   to 

1  Youngest  son  of  the  Rev.  Charles  Johnson.  He  was  at  first  styled  Tuan 
Adck,  but  this  was  afterwards  changed  to  the  more  correct  Malay  title  of  Tuan 
Bongsu,  now  held  by  the  present  Rajah's  third  son.  (Adek  =  younger  brother; 
bongsu  =  youngest  born.)  He  served  principally  in  the  Saribas,  until  1868,  when 
his  health  having  broken  down  he  retired.  He  became  Deputy-Governor  of 
Farkhurst  and  Chatham  Prisons  in  succession,  and  then  Chief  Constable  of 
Edinburgh.  He  died  March  31,  1894. 
5t.  John,  Life  of  Sir  James  Brooke. 


262  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Ova,  Mr.  St.  John  accompanying  him,  also  the  Sultan's 
envoy,  Haji  Abdul  Rahman,  bearing  private  letters  and 
messages  from  the  Sultan  pressing  Pangiran  Nipa  not  to 
fight.  Here  the  principal  chiefs  were  seen,  and  the  Sultan's 
commands  that  hostilities  should  cease  and  that  Sherip 
Masahor  was  to  be  banished  were  read  to  them.1 

Mr.  St.  John  then  went  to  Singapore  to  obtain  a  man- 
of-war  from  which  to  deliver  the  Sultan's  decree  at  Muka, 
and  the  Rajah  made  every  preparation  to  assume  the 
offensive  against  Muka,  as  it  was  not  expected  that  the 
Sherip  would  quietly  submit  to  even  the  Sultan's  mandate. 
Masahor  had  defied  both  the  Sultan  and  the  Bruni  Rajahs, 
and  had  heaped  insults  upon  them  so  often  before  when  in 
the  plenitude  of  his  power  in  the  Rejang,  where  he  had 
been  practically  an  independent  prince,  with  the  dreaded 
and  powerful  Kayans  and  the  Dayaks  at  his  back,  that  his 
submission  was  doubtful.  This  was  no  idle  supposition,  as 
one  writer  has  suggested,  for  when,  two  months  after  Mr. 
Edwardes'  ill-advised  action  at  Muka,  the  Victoria^  convey- 
ing Messrs.  A.  C.  Crookshank  and  L.  V.  Helms  (of  the 
Borneo  Company),  again  visited  Muka,  to  endeavour  once 
more  by  peaceable  means  to  re-open  trade  with  Kuching, 
these  gentlemen  and  the  captain,  who  had  foolishly  gone  up 
to  the  town  unarmed  and  without  a  guard,  met  with  a  hostile 
reception  on  the  part  of  the  Sherip,  and  would  have  fared 
badly  at  his  hands,  had  not  his  adherents  been  prevailed 
upon  to  desist  by  the  wiser  counsel  of  Pangiran  Nipa. 

Mr.  St.  John  went  to  Muka  in  H.M.S.  Charybdis^  and 
with  Captain  Keane  and  an  armed  force  of  200  blue-jackets 
and  marines  proceeded  up  to  the  town.  The  Sultan's  titah 
(decree),  "  advising  a  cessation  of  hostilities,  and  that  Sherip 
Masahor  and  his  men  were  to  leave  the  country,"  was  read, 
and  both  Pangiran  Nipa  and  the  Sherip  promised  obedience. 
They  were  told  that  Mr.  Edwardes'  interference  had  not  met 
with  the  approval  of  her  Majesty's  Government,  and  "  Captain 
Keane's  judicious  conduct  in  taking  an  overpowering  force 
up  the  river  to  the  middle  of  the  town  showed  them  that 
Mr.  Edwardes'  support  was  no  longer  to  be  relied  upon."  - 

1   From  a  letter  to  the  Tuan  Muda  of  M  '-'  St.  John,  <>/.  cit. 


MUKA  263 

The  Rajah  then  went  to  Muka  with  a  large  force  to 
ensure  that  there  should  be  no  resistance,  and  Muka  was 
surrendered  to  him.  Pangiran  Nipa  and  the  Bruni  aristo- 
cracy were  sent  to  Bruni,  and  Sherip  Masahor  was  de- 
ported to  Singapore.  The  Rajah  wrote  :  "  He  will  never 
trouble  Sarawak  more,  and  I  am  not  lover  enough  of  bloody 
justice  to  begrudge  him  his  life  on  that  condition.  He 
deserved  death,  but  he  was  a  murderer  for  political  ends." 

The  Rajah  now  established  himself  at  Muka,  and  spent 
a  month  working  to  bring  order  into  the  district,  so  torn 
by  civil  war  and  crushed  by  oppression  that  everything  was 
in  confusion,  and  where  there  had  been  no  protection  for  either 
person  or  property,  and  justice  had  not  been  administered. 
The  effect  of  opening  the  port  was  immediate.  Numbers  of 
vessels  entered  bringing  goods  from  Kuching  to  traffic  with 
the  natives  for  raw  sago. 

Early  in  August  the  Rajah  went  to  Bruni  again,  and  for 
the  last  time.  The  concession  to  Sarawak  of  the  coast  and 
districts  from  the  Rejang  to  Kedurong  point  was  then 
completed.  For  many  years  the  Sultan  had  derived  little 
or  no  revenue  from  these  parts,  for  what  had  been  squeezed 
out  of  the  natives  by  the  pangirans  went  to  fill  their  own 
pockets,  and  he  was  more  than  satisfied  to  receive  a  sum 
down  and  an  annual  subsidy,  which  would  be  paid  into  his 
own  hands.  And  the  natives  rejoiced,  for  they  were  now 
freed  from  the  rapacity  of  these  Bruni  pangirans. 

"And  thus,"  says  the  Tuan  Muda,  "were  about  110 
miles  of  coast  annexed  to  the  Sarawak  territory — valuable  for 
the  sago  forests,  but  in  a  most  disturbed  state,  owing  to  a 
prolonged  period  of  the  worst  anarchy  and  misgovernment. 
Its  inhabitants  had  many  redeeming  qualities  when  once 
relieved  from  the  Bruni  tyranny  and  oppression,  as  they  were 
industrious  and  clever  in  different  trades,  particularly  that  of 
working  wood,  and  the  rougher  kinds  of  jungle  labour.  But 
they  required  a  severe  hand  over  them,  although  one  that 
was  just,  and  were  scarcely  able  to  appreciate  kindness. 
They  had  considered  it  a  merit  to  a  certain  extent  to  be  the 
Sultan's  slaves,  although  they  had  many  times  smarted 
under    the    foulest    injustice,   and    been    deprived    of    their 


264  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

wives  and  daughters  ;  the  majority  of  the  latter  class  were 
often  taken  for  the  Bruni  Rajahs'  harems. 

"  The  women  were  considered  better  looking  than  most 
others  on  the  coast,  having  agreeable  countenances,  with  the 
dark  open  rolling  eye  of  Italians.  The  men  are  cleanly  and 
generally  well  dressed,  but  not  so  nice  looking  as  those  of 
many  other  tribes/' 

After  the  Rajah  had  laid  the  foundations  of  good 
government,  he  appointed  Mr.  Hay  as  Resident,1  and  in  a 
few  years  the  aspect  of  the  place,  the  condition  of  the 
people,  and  even  their  character  was  changed  for  the  better. 
A  fort  had  also  been  planted  at  Bintulu,  then  at  the  extreme 
north  of  the  coast  now  under  the  sway  of  the  Rajah,  and  a 
Resident  appointed  there. 

Sherip  Masahor,  exiled  to  the  Straits  Settlements,  lived 
the  rest  of  his  life  in  Singapore.  He  was  granted  a  small 
pension  by  the  Sarawak  Government,  which  he  eked  out  by 
boat-building,  and  died  in  February,  1890.  To  the  end  he 
continued  to  intrigue,  through  his  relatives,  in  Sarawak 
affairs,  but  to  no  purpose. 

He  was  an  arch-fiend,  and  the  murderer  of  many  of  his 
countrymen.  He  butchered  in  cold  blood  the  relatives  and 
followers  of  Pangiran  Matusin  ;  he  executed  his  own  trusted 
agents  in  the  murder  of  Fox  and  Steele  to  silence  their 
tongues.  One  further  instance  of  his  cruelty  may  be 
quoted.  Jani,  a  noted  Sea-Dayak  chief  of  Kanowit,  visited 
Sherip  Masahor  at  Muka,  and  told  him  that  Abang  AH  had 
sent  him  to  murder  him,  Masahor,  treacherously,  which  was 
absolutely  false,  and  that  he  revealed  the  fact  to  convince 
the  Sherip  of  his  own  loyalty  to  his  person.  Masahor  bade 
him  prove  his  loyalty  by  attacking  the  fort  at  Kanowit. 
Jani  promised  to  do  this,  but  asked  to  be  given  a  head  so 
that  he  might  not  return  empty-handed  to  his  people.  The 
Sherip  ordered  up  a  young  lad,  the  adopted  son  of  a  Malay 
of  rank,  a  follower  of  the  Sarawak  Government,  whom  he 
had  already  mutilated  by  cutting  off  his  hands,  and  he  bade 
Jani  then  and  there  decapitate  the  poor  boy  and  take  his 
head.      This  is  but  one  instance  of  his  ruthlessness.      Backed 

1  He  retired  in  1863. 


MUKA  265 

by  his  Segalangs  he  had  always  been  a  terror  to  the  Malays 
and  Melanaus  of  the  Rejang. 

The  Rajah's  work  was  now  done.  What  he  had  come 
out  to  do  had  been  accomplished,  and  his  failing  health  led 
him  to  seek  peace  and  repose  at  his  refuge,  Burrator.  "  I 
am  not  strong,  and  need  to  be  kept  going  like  an  old  horse," 
he  wrote  to  the  Tuan  Muda.  After  publicly  installing  the 
Tuan  Besar,  Captain  Brooke-Brooke,  as  the  -Rajah  Muda  and 
his  heir,  he  sailed  towards  the  end  of  September,  leaving  the 
government  with  confidence  in  the  hands  of  his  nephews. 
'  Shortly  after  his  arrival  in  England  the  Rajah  received 
the  good  news  of  the  fall  of  Sadok,  and  the  remaining  cause 
of  anxiety  was  removed  from  his  mind.  "  Though  confident 
of  the  result,  the  great  difficulty  of  the  undertaking,  and  the 
chances  of.  war,  caused  me  some  anxiety.  It  is  well  over, 
and  I  congratulate  you  upon  this  success,  which  will  lead  to 
the  pacification  of  the  Dayaks  and  the  improved  security  of 
Sarawak.  You  have  the  warm  thanks  of  your  Rajah  and 
uncle,  who  only  regrets  he  has  no  other  reward  to  bestow 
but  his  praise  of  your  ability,  zeal,  and  prudence.  You 
deserve  honour  and  wealth  as  the  meed  due  to  your  merit," 
so  wrote  the  Rajah  to  the  Tuan  Muda  on  receipt  of  the 
news. 

The  Serikei  and  Nyalong  Dayaks  had  received  due 
punishment  at  the  hands  of  the  Tuan  Muda,  and  peace  now 
reigned  along  the  coast  and  in  the  interior.  The  Kayans 
alone  remained  to  be  humbled,  and  the  remaining  actual 
murderers  of  Steele  and  Fox,  Sakalai,  Sawing,  and  Talip, 
whom  they  were  harbouring,  to  be  punished. 

In  the  beginning  of  February,  1862,  after  a  month's 
detention  in  Kuching  suffering  from  jungle  fever,  the  Tuan 
Muda  left  for  England.  After  an  arduous  journey  to  the 
head-waters  of  the  Batang  Lupar  and  overland  to  the 
Katibas,  by  which  river  and  the  Rejang  he  returned,  his 
health  had  broken  down,  and  it  became  necessary  for  him 
to  return  to  Europe  to  recruit.  He  had  now  been  in 
Sarawak  for  nearly  ten  years,  for  the  greater  part  of  the 
time  at  Sekrang,  and  had  been  engaged  in  many  very  trying 
expeditions. 


266  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

I  left  Sekrang  and  Saribas  in  perfect  confidence  in  Mr.  Watson's 
ability  to  manage  affairs  during  my  absence,  and  felt  sure  the  natives 
would  support  him  to  the  uttermost.  For  a  few  days  previously  I 
had  conferred  with  all  the  Dayak  chiefs,  and  begged  them  to  desist 
from  head-hunting  and  prevent  their  people  running  loose  as  in 
former  times.  They  spoke  well,  and  assured  me  of  their  staunch 
support. 

Amongst  the  many  who  had  collected  to  bid  him  fare- 
well was  the  octogenarian  Sherip  Mular,  the  intrepid  enemy 
of  former  days,  but  who  had  long  since  become  a  peaceful 
member  of  society,  and  a  friend  of  the  Tuan  Muda. 


CHAPTER    IX 


THE    LAST    OF    THE    PIRATES 


S  we  have  al- 
ready noticed, 
the  action  of 
the  Nemesis 
with  a  fleet 
of  Balanini 
pirates  off 
Bruni  in 
May,  1847,  follow- 
ing on  the  destruc- 
tion by  Admiral 
Cochrane  of  the  pirate  strong- 
holds in  North  Borneo,  for 
some  years  effectually  checked 
the  marauding  expeditions  of 
the  pirates  down  the  north-west  coast  of 
Borneo.  This  lesson  was  shortly  after- 
wards followed  up  by  the  destruction  of  the  Balanini 
strongholds  by  the  Spanish,  who  a  few  years  later  destroyed 
Tianggi,  or  Sug,  the  principal  town  in  Sulu.  The  Dutch 
had  also  been  active.  The  pirates  were  crippled  and 
scattered,  and  a  period  of  immunity  from  their  depredations 

267 


268 


A    HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


followed  these  vigorous  measures.  But  the  efforts  of  the 
three  powers  mainly  concerned  in  the  suppression  of  piracy 
subsequently  relaxed,  and  the  pirates,  who  had  gradually 
established  themselves  in  other  places  on  the  coast  of  Borneo 

and  in  neighbouring  is- 
lands, gained  courage  by 
the  absence  of  patrolling 
cruisers,  and  again  burst 
forth. 


The  year  1858  was 
marked  by  a  great  revival  of 
Lanun  and  Balagnini  piracy. 
Among  others,  a  Spanish 
vessel  was  taken  in  the  Sulu 
seas  by  Panglima  Taupan  of 
Tawi-Tawi  :  a  young  girl, 
the  daughter  of  a  Spanish 
merchant,  was  the  only  one 
on  board  not  massacred. 
Taupan  took  her  for  a  wife  ; 
and,  as  I  wrote  at  the  time, 
— ••  Alas  for  the  chivalry  of 

the  British  Navy  !     Sir , 

who  was  present  when  this 
information  was  given,  said 
it  was  a  Spanish  affair,  not 
ours.!'  Another  fruit  of  the 
Commission — officers  dared 
not  act.1 


No  more  terrible  fate 

can  be  conceived  than  that 

sulu  kris.  to    which    this    poor   girl, 

who  had  witnessed  the 
murder  of  her  father,  was  dragged,  but  had  a  British  man-of- 
war  been  present  it  is  doubtful  whether  her  Commander  would 
have  interfered,  unless  he  were  prepared  to  sacrifice  duty  to 
compassion.  For,  after  the  notorious  Commission,  the  Admir- 
alty had  issued  stringent  commands  that  unless  a  vessel  should 
have,   within   view,  attacked    some  British   vessel   or  subject, 


St.  John,  Life  0/  Sir  fames  E 


THE   LAST  OF  THE  PIRATES  269 

or  that  there  was  proof  that  she  had  done  so,  she  was   not 
to  be  molested.      It  was  a  revival  of  the  former  order  of 
1844,   which,  though    it    contained    the    same    strict    limit, 
allowed  some  latitude  to  a  Commander. 
The  Rajah  was  rightly  of  opinion  that 

These  orders  are  a  direct  violation  of  our  treaties  with  Holland 
and  with  Bruni.1  Such  a  course  of  action  with  pirates  has  never 
been  pursued  before  by  any  civilised  nation,  and  is  manifestly 
calculated  to  destroy  our  commerce,  wherever  it  may  be  practically 
acted  upon.  Let  either  the  Lanun  or  Chinese  pirates  know  that  we 
shall  not  molest  them  unless  they  commit  depredations  on  the 
English  flag,  and  they  would  sweep  away  a  million  of  commerce 
on  these  seas,  which  was  bound  to  English  markets  in  native 
bottoms. 

Though  the  inhabitants  and  commerce  of  neighbouring 
countries  continued  to  suffer,  up  to  1861  the  pirates  gave 
Sarawak  a  wide  berth.  Then  they  began  to  appear  on  the 
coast  again,  but  the  little  Sarawak  gun-boats  were  on  the 
alert.  The  principal  object  of  the  pirates  was  not  to  fight, 
but  to  obtain  plunder  and  captives,  and  they  afforded  the 
gun-boats  only  a  few  long  shots.  Still  they  managed  to 
capture  a  few  people,  including  some  natives  of  Madras, 
British  subjects.  But  in  1862  they  were  out  in  increased 
numbers. 

In  that  year  Captain  Brooke,  the  Rajah  Muda,  met  with  a 
great  loss,  his  second  wife  died  at  Kuching,  after  having  given 
birth  to  her  first  child.'2  This  occurred  on  May  6,  and  after 
a  few  days  it  was  thought  by  his  friends  that  he  might  find 
some  mental  relief  in  change  of  scene  and  active  work. 
Accordingly  he  was  persuaded  to  undertake  a  voyage  to 
Bintulu,  and  Bishop  McDougall  volunteered  to  accompany 
him  so  as  to  cheer  and  support  him.  Mr.  Helms,  agent  of 
the  Borneo  Company,  joined  the  party  and  was  dropped  at 
Muka.  On  the  second  day  after  the  arrival  of  Mr.  Helms, 
and  when  the  Rajah  Muda  had  left  in  the  Rainbozv,  a  piratical 
fleet  of  Lanuns,  consisting  of  six  large  and  many  small  vessels, 

1  By  Article  III.  of  the  Treaty  of  May,  1847,  the  British  Government  engaged  to 
use  every  means  in  their  power  to  suppress  piracy  within  the  seas,  straits,  and  rivers 
subject  to  Bruni. 

2  Miss  Agnes  Brooke. 


270  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

appeared  off  the  mouth  of  the  Muka  river  and  blockaded  the 
place.  For  a  couple  of  days  they  remained  there,  making 
excursions  on  land,  and  capturing  thirty-two  persons.  Mr. 
Helms  despatched  a  party  of  natives  in  a  fast  boat  that 
succeeded  in  eluding  the  pirates,  though  they  narrowly 
escaped  capture,  to  make  known  the  state  of  affairs  to  the 
Rajah  Muda,  and  they  found  him  still  at  Bintulu. 

On  May  25,  the  little  screw-steamer  Rainbow,  carrying 
two  9-pounder  guns,  steamed  out  of  Bintulu,  and  at  once 
engaged  a  detachment  of  three  Lanun  prahus,  one  of  which 
was  sunk,  and  another  captured  ;  the  third  was  engaged  by 
the  Jo/ I v  Bachelor  and  driven  on  the  rocks  off  Kedurong  point, 
and  her  crew  taking  refuge  ashore  were  hunted  down  and 
killed  by  the  Bintulu  people.  Learning  from  the  captives 
the  direction  taken  by  the  remainder  of  the  fleet,  the  Rajah 
Muda  stood  out  to  sea  in  search  of  them. 

After  an  hour  or  so,  wrote  the  Bishop,  the  look-out  at  the 
mast-head  reported  three  vessels  in  sight,  right  ahead.  At  this 
time  it  was  quite  calm,  and  when  we  came  near  enough  to  see  them 
from  the  deck,  we  saw  them  sweep  up  to  the  central  vessel  and  lay 
themselves  side  by  side,  with  their  bows  at  us,  as  if  they  meant  to 
engage  us  in  that  position.  However,  as  we  went  on  towards  them 
the  sea-breeze  sprang  up,  so  they  changed  their  tactics,  and  opened 
out  in  line  with  their  broadsides  towards  us  to  rake  us  as  we  came 
up.  Our  plan  was,  as  before,  to  shake  them  first  and  run  them  down 
in  detail.  Brooke  did  not  give  the  order  to  fire  until  we  came  within 
250  yards  of  them,  and  they  opened  their  lelahs  (brass  swivel-guns) 
upon  us  some  time  before  we  commenced  firing.  They  fired  briskly 
and  did  not  attempt  to  get  away,  even  when  we  got  all  our  guns  to 
bear  upon  them ;  but  as  we  steamed  round  to  get  our  stem  fairly  at 
the  sternmost  vessel,  they  seemed  to  think  we  were  retreating,  and 
pelted  us  with  shot  more  sharply  than  ever,  directing  their  chief 
attention  to  us  on  the  poop,  where  we  had  one  man  killed  and  two 
severely  wounded  in  no  time,  and  we  should  have  suffered  more 
if  the  temporary  bulwark  of  planks,  etc.,  had  not  stopped  their  balls. 

After  the  first  prahu  was  run  down,  I  had  to  go  below  to  attend 
to  our  own  wounded  as  they  came  in,  but  I  plainly  felt  the  con- 
cussion as  we  went/  into  the  others.  One  of  the  vessels  was  cut 
right  in  two  ;  the  steamer  went  straight  on  without  backing,  and 
she  sank  the  other,  one  half  on  each  side  of  us.  She  was  the 
largest,  and  had  a  valuable  cargo,  and  much  gold  and  bags  of  Dutch 
rupees.     The  pirates  fought  to  the  last,  and  then  would  not  surrender, 


THE  LAST   OF  THE   PIRATES  271 

but  jumped  into  the  sea  with  their  arms  ;  and  the  poor  captives, 
who  were  all  made  fast  below  as  we  came  up  to  engage  them,  were 
doubtless  glad  when  our  stem  opened  the  sides  of  their  ships  and 
thus  let  them  out  of  their  prison.  Few,  comparatively,  were  drowned, 
being  mostly  all  good  swimmers.  All  those  who  were  not  lashed  to 
the  vessels  or  killed  by  the  Illanuns  escaped.  Our  decks  were  soon 
covered  with  those  we  picked  up,  men  of  every  race  and  nation  in 
the  Archipelago,1  who  had  been  captured  by  the  pirates  in  their 
cruise.  One  poor  Chinese  came  swimming  alongside,  waving  his 
tail  over  his  head,  and  the  other  captives  held  up  the  cords  round 
their  necks  to  show  they  were  slaves,  lest  they  should  be  mistaken 
for  Illanuns  and  shot  or  left  to  their  fate.  We  soon  picked  up  the 
poor  fellows,  and  the  Chinaman  came  under  my  hands,  being  shot 
through  the  arm.  Many  of  the  pirates  we  took  were  badly  wounded, 
some  mortally,  the  greater  part  were  killed  or  disabled  by  our  fire 
before  we  closed. 

It  is  a  marvel  how  these  poor  creatures  live  at  all  under  the 
terrible  tortures  and  ill-treatment  they  endure,  sometimes  for  months, 
before  they  reach  their  destination  and  settle  down  as  slaves  to  the 
worst  of  masters — very  demons,  not  men.  The  captives  state  that 
when  the  pirates  take  a  vessel,  they  kill  every  one  who  makes  any 
resistance,  plunder  and  sink  their  boats  or  ships,  and  when  those 
they  spare  are  first  taken  on  board  their  own  prahus,  they  put  a 
rattan,  or  black  rope-halter,  round  their  necks,  beat  them  with  a 
flat  piece  of  bamboo  on  the  elbows  and  knees  and  the  muscles  of 
the  arms  and  legs,  so  that  they  cannot  use  them  to  swim  or  run 
away.  After  a  while,  when  sufficiently  tamed,  they  are  put  to  the 
sweeps  and  made  to  row  in  gangs,  with  one  of  their  fellow-captives 
as  a  mandore  or  foreman  over  them,  who  is  furnished  with  a  rattan 
to  keep  them  at  their  work  ;  and  if  he  does  not  do  this  effectually, 
he  is  "  krissed  "  and  thrown  overboard,  and  another  man  put  in  his 
place.  If  any  of  the  rowers  jump  overboard,  the  pirates  have  a 
supply  of  three -pronged  and  barbed  spears,  with  long  bamboo 
handles,  ready  to  throw  at  them.  When  hit  by  one  of  these  they 
can  neither  swim  nor  run,  and  are  easily  recaptured.  They  are 
made  to  row  in  relays  night  and  day,  and  to  keep  them  awake  they 
put  cayenne  pepper  in  their  eyes  or  cut  them  with  their  knives  and 
put  pepper  in  their  wounds. 

We  found,  on  reckoning  up,  that  we  had  picked  up  165 
people,  and  that  150  to  200  men  had  got  to  land  from  the  vessels 
we  sank  near  the  shore.      In  every  pirate  vessel  there  were  forty  or 

1  Some  were  from  the  Celebes  ;  some  from  both  Southern  and  Western  Borneo  ; 
some  Javanese  ;  some  from  the  Xatuna  islands.  Amongst  them  were  a  nadoka  and 
the  crew  of  a  Singapore  vessel,  and  a  Malay  woman  of  Singapore  and  her  family. 
(From  an  account  by  the  Rajah  Muda,  which  is  practically  the  same  as  the 
Bishop's. ) 


272  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

or  fifty  Illanuns,  fighting  men,  all  well  armed,  each  having  a 
rifle  or  musket  besides  his  native  weapons,  and  from  60  to  70 
captives,  many  of  whom  were  killed  by  the  pirates  when  they 
found  themselves  beaten  ;  among  them  two  women.  Seven  of  the 
women  and  four  of  the  children  were  our  own  Muka  people  l  and  it 
was  indeed  most  touching  to  witness  the  joy  and  gratitude  of  them 
and  their  relations  when  we  returned  them  to  their  friends.  Of  the 
Illanuns  we  captured  32,  ten  of  them  boys.  Some  have  died 
since  of  their  wounds,  the  remainder  are  in  irons  in  the  fort 
here.  The  boys  have  been  given  out  by  Brooke  for  five  years  to 
respectable  people  to  train  and  bring  up.  Very  few  of  the  pirates 
live  to  tell  the  tale ;  some  captives  assured  us  in  the  boat  they  were 
in  there  were  only  two  out  of  the  forty  fighting-men  who  had  not 
been  killed  or  wounded  by  our  fire,  when  we  gave  them  the  stem 
and  cut  them  down. 

Under  the  present  system  at  Labuan,  and  the  difficulties  thrown 
in  the  way  of  our  men-of-war  against  attacking  these  wretches  when 
they  are  known  to  be  in  the  neighbourhood,  England  with  all  her 
power  and  philanthropy  is  doing  absolutely  nothing  towards  putting 
an  end  to  this  abominable  and  most  extensive  system  of  rapine, 
murder,  and  slavery.  It  is  impossible  to  estimate  the  destruction 
and  the  havoc,  the  murder  and  the  amount  of  slave-dealing  carried 
on  by  these  wretches  in  their  yearly  cruises.  The  prahus  we  met 
were  but  one  of  the  many  squadrons  that  leave  Sulu  every  year. 
Seven  months  had  these  wretches  been  devastating  the  villages  on  the 
coast,  capturing  slaves,  taking  and  sinking  trading  vessels.  Their 
course  was  along  the  coasts  of  Celebes,  down  the  Macassar  Straits  to 
Madura  and  then  along  the  Northern  coast  of  Java,  and  the  South 
of  Borneo,  up  the  Caramata  passage  to  Borneo,  to  go  home  by 
Sarawak  and  Labuan.  The  other  five  pirate  vessels  parted 
company  from  them  to  go  over  to  Balliton 2  and  Banca  Straits,  and 
doubtless  they  too  will  carry  their  depredations  right  up  into  the 
Straits  of  Singapore  and  pick  up  English  subjects  and  injure' 
English  trade,  as  those  we  met  have  done.  But  apart  from  all 
our  local  feelings,  and  danger  from  these  people,  it  makes  an 
Englishman  out  here  ashamed  to  feel  that  his  own  dear  country, 
which  we  would  fain  regard  as  the  liberator  of  the  slave  and  the 
avenger  of  the  wronged,  is  in  truth  doing  nothing  against  the  system, 
fraught  with  incalculable  misery  to  so  large  a  section  of  the  human 
race.  For  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  slavery  these  people 
suffer  is  far  more  crushing  to  them  than  the  African  who  is  taken 
as  a  savage  to  serve  civilised  and  at  least,  nominally,  Christian 
masters  ;  but  these  are  generally  well-to-do  men  of  civilised  nations 

1  Some  fifty  people  from  Matu,  Oya,  and  Muka  were  rescued. 
-   Belitong. 


THE   LAST   OF  THE   PIRATES  273 

who  are  made  the  slaves  of  utter  fiends,  who  work  and  torture 
them  to  death  one  year,  only  to  replace  them  by  fresh  victims 
whom  they  capture  the  next.  It  is  indeed  vae  victis  with  them,  and 
I  think  it  is  the  duty  of  every  Christian  man  and  every  Christian 
nation  to  do  all  that  can  be  done  to  rid  the  earth  of  such  horrible 
and  dangerous  monsters,  and  to  punish  the  Sultan  of  Sulu  and  all 
who  abet  and  aid  them.  The  Dutch  and  Spaniards  are  always 
doing  something,  but  not  enough,  and  during  the  last  four  or  five 
years,  these  pirate  fleets  have  been  gradually  getting  more  and 
more  numerous  and  daring  on  these  coasts,  and  now  it  is  for 
England  to  rouse  herself  and  complete  the  work  of  putting  them 
down.  Labuan  is  near  their  haunts  and  it  might  be  done  from  thence. 
A  few  thousands  spent  out  here  yearly  for  the  purpose  would, 
I  believe  in  my  heart,  soon  effect  more  real  and  lasting  good  than 
the  millions  which  are  being  spent  on  the  coast  of  Africa.  All 
honour  is  due  to  Sir  James  Brooke  and  his  nephew,  the  Rajah 
Muda,  and  the  other  officers  of  the  Sarawak  government,  who  in 
spite  of  misrepresentation  and  factious  opposition,  through  evil 
report  and  good  report,  have  persevered  for  years  in  constant, 
steady,  and  systematic  efforts  to  put  down  piracy  on  this  coast 
and  chastise  these  villainous  marauders  whenever  they  come  into 
Sarawak  waters.  If  the  English  government  will  now  act  with  and 
assist  us,  we  shall  soon  clear  the  Sarawak  and  Labuan  waters  of 
these  pests.  Assisted  by  the  knowledge  and  experience  of  our 
natives,  the  work  would  be  done  surely  and  effectually  ;  but  single- 
handed  the  Sarawak  government  notwithstanding  all  it  has  done, 
cannot  carry  it  out.  We  want  means ;  if  England  or  Englishmen 
will  give  us  that,  we  shall  gladly  do  the  work,  and  feel  that  we  are 
delivering  our  fellow-men,  and  doing  our  duty  to  God,  who  has 
commanded  us  to  free  the  captive  and  deliver  the  oppressed. 
While  at  the  same  time  we  shall  be  averting  a  danger  which  is 
ever  threatening  us  at  our  own  doors,  and  has  so  long  crippled  the 
energies  and  resources  of  this  country. 

The  original  fleet  of  Lanuns  had  consisted  of  eleven 
prahus,  but  off  the  western  coast  of  Borneo  five  had  parted 
company  and  stayed  behind  to  cruise  around  Banka  and 
Belitong.  Shortly  afterwards  one  of  her  Majesty's  ships 
fell  in  with  three  of  them  and  attempted  to  take  them,  but 
the  pirates  managed  to  effect  their  escape. 

On  board  the  little  steamer  were  at  the  time  eight 
Europeans,  the  stalwart  Pangiran  Matusin,  a  fighting 
haji,  and  fifteen  natives.  But  though  the  pirates  were  far 
more  numerous,  and   were  all   well   armed,  yet  the  steamer 

T 


274  A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

had  the  preponderating  advantage  of  her  screw,  enabling  her 
to  ram   each   native  vessel,  cut  her  in  half  and  send   her  to 
the  bottom,  so  that  there  could  not  be  doubt  for  a  moment 
what  would  be  the  outcome  of  such  a  conflict. 
The  results  of  the  fight  were  these  : — 

Pirates  killed  or  drowned       .  .190 

Escaped      .....  19 

Brought  prisoners  to  Sarawak  .  -3* 


240 


Captives  killed  or  drowned    .  .140 

„         liberated  .  .  .  .  .194 

„         run  away  into  the  jungle,  and 
subsequently  rescued  ....        56 


39° 


The  prisoners,  with  the  exception  of  the  lads,  were  all 
executed.  The  lads  were  put  to  work  on  the  gun-boats, 
and  became  excellent  and  trustworthy  sailors  —  one,  who 
was  the  son  of  a  Lanun  of  rank,  subsequently  commanded 
the  present  Rajah's  former  yacht  the  Aline.  Some  of  the 
captives  were  Dutch  subjects,  and  some  were  British  subjects 
from  Singapore.  In  the  captured  pirate  prahu  there  were 
found  five  Dutch  and  one  Spanish  ensign. 

Sailing  along  past  the  delta  of  the  Rejang,  when  off  the 
pretty  little  village  of  Palo,  which  was  hidden  from  their 
view,  the  pirates  had  observed  a  long  canoe  laden  with  nipah 
palm  leaves,  with  a  man  in  the  stern  and  a  woman  in  the 
bows,  paddling  for  dear  life  to  escape.  A  light  canoe 
manned  by  half-a-dozen  men  was  at  once  despatched  in 
chase,  and  quickly  overhauled  the  poor  couple,  the  man 
crying  out  that  he  surrendered,  and  the  woman  screaming 
with  fear.  It  was  a  pretty  example  of  the  biter  bit — a 
neatly  contrived  trap.  Gliding  alongside  to  secure  their 
apparently  helpless  captives,  without  troubling  to  exchange 
paddles  for  weapons,  to  their  amazement  the  pirates  saw  an 
upheaval  of  the  leaves  and  several  armed  men  spring  up, 
together  with  the  steersman   and   the  disguised   man  in   the 


THE   LAST   OF  THE   PIRATES  275 

bows.  This  startling  development  took  the  pirates  so  com- 
pletely by  surprise  that  they  were  all  speared  before  they 
could  seize  their  weapons.  The  Melanaus  then  quickly  dis- 
appeared up  a  creek.  Their  leader  was  the  late  Atoh,  a 
young  man  then,  who  afterwards  became  the  Government 
chief  of  Palo.  He  is  perhaps  better  known  to  the  present 
generation  as  Haji  Abdul  Rahman. 

The  following  translation  of  a  paper  written  by  a  Nakoda 
Amzah,  one  of  the  rescued  captives,  and  found  amongst  his 
papers  after  his  death,  gives  a  good  account  of  the  voyage 
of  this  fleet,  and  of  its  destruction.  He  was  a  Kampar 
(Sumatra)  Malay,  who  lived  in  Sarawak  since  his  rescue. 
He,  his  grandson,  and  another  Malay  were  killed  in  the 
Rejang  in  1880  by  a  head-hunting  party  of  Dayaks.  He 
was  noted  for  his  courage.  He  had  been  twice  before 
captured  by  pirates.  In  this  translation  the  word  "  pirate  " 
is  substituted  for  Bajau,  Lanun,  and  Balanini,  which  the 
writer  uses  indiscriminately,  and  no  doubt  the  crews  of  the 
piratical  prahus  were  an  admixture  of  these  tribes. 

Thursday,  the  17  th  day  of  the  month  Sawal  in  the  year  of  the 
Hejira  1278  (a.d.  1862).  On  this  day  Nakoda  Amzah  who  was 
on  a  voyage  to  Samarang,  with  a  crew  of  twelve  men,  was  attacked 
off  the  mouth  of  the  Jali  by  piratical  prahus.  These  must  have 
been  eleven  in  all ;  they  afterwards  separated,  six  going  along  the 
coast  of  Borneo,  and  five  coasting  to  Bangka.  The  attack  was 
sudden,  and  they  did  their  best  to  beat  the  pirates  off,  but  after 
having  fought  them  for  about  an  hour,  three  of  Nakoda  Amzah's 
men  were  killed,  and  he  himself  was  wounded  in  the  head  by  a- 
bullet.  They  then  surrendered  and  were  captured  by  the  pirates ; 
their  own  prahu  was  destroyed,  and  they  were  transferred  to  the 
pirates'  prahus.  The  pirates  then  sailed  to  Pulo  Kelam,  where 
they  hauled  their  prahus  up  a  creek  out  of  sight,  there  being  a 
Dutch  war  vessel  out  of  Benjarmasin  on  the  look  out  for  piratical 
prahus.  This  vessel  steamed  round  the  island  without  detecting 
them.  They  stayed  here  three  days,  and  on  the  fourth  launched 
their  prahus  and  sailed  northwards.  The  next  day  they  again 
saw  the  steamer  to  the  westward,  so  bore  down  to  the  island  of 
Jempodi,  where  they  stayed  in  hiding  for  six  days.  Sailing  on, 
between  Pakar  and  Kaiong  the  pirates  captured  a  sampan  with 
five  men,  and  they  also  captured  a  woman.  In  two  days  more 
they  reached  the  mouth  of  Katapang,  and  Kandang  Krabu,  where 
they  made  an  unsuccessful  raid ;  but  they  captured  two  men  who 


276  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

were  out  fishing.  Two  days  afterwards  they  arrived  at  and 
attacked  Pulo  Kumbang,  but  the  people  were  away  inland,  so  no 
captures  were  effected.  The  next  day  they  made  a  descent  on 
Sati  point,  and  captured  three  Chinese  and  three  Malays.  They 
sailed  on  for  two  days  more,  and  then  tried  at  Mas  Tiga,  but  did 
not  succeed  in  capturing  any  one.  Two  days  afterwards  they  fell  in 
with  a  Dutch  Government  coastguard,  commanded  by  one  Rasip. 
They  engaged  the  coastguard,  but  owing  to  a  strong  westerly  wind 
were  forced  to  leave  her.  After  four  days,  between  Karamata  and 
Pulo  Datu,  they  fell  in  with  a  Sambas  prahu  belonging  to  Haji 
Bakir,  she  proved  to  be  from  Belitong,  loaded  with  dry  fish,  sago, 
etc.  The  pirates  captured  her  and  her  crew  of  five  men.  The 
whole  of  the  next  day  they  were  chased  by  a  war  steamer,  but  they 
escaped  by  keeping  in  shoal  water,  and  by  night  falling.  Five  days 
afterwards,  off  Cape  Baiong,  they  fell  in  with  Nakoda  Baud's  prahu 
from  Sambas,  but  did  not  molest  her.  Three  days  later  they  had 
passed  Cape  Datu,  and  brought  up  for  two  days  in  Serabang  bay 
and  read  the  Ruah  Selamat.1  A  three  days'  sail  brought  them  to 
Cape  Sirik,  just  before  reaching  which  they  fell  in  with  two  prahus 
which  they  attacked  but  were  beaten  off;  they  also  chased  a  small 
boat  but  that  escaped  inshore.  The  next  night  at  Bruit  they  killed 
two  Melanaus,  and  captured  two  men  and  two  women.  Two  nights 
after,  off  the  mouth  of  Oya,  they  captured  four  Melanau  women  and 
two  men.  At  Muka,  which  they  reached  next  day,  they  captured 
four  Chinese  and  two  Melanaus,  and  the  next  night  they  brought 
up  off  Bintulu.-  The  following  day  was  a  fatal  day  for  the  pirate-, 
for  in  the  morning  a  steamer  (the  Rainbow)  came  out  of  Bintulu 
accompanied  by  a  pinnace  (the  Jolly  Bachelor).  There  was  a 
pirate  prahu  lying  close  in  shore  and  upon  her  the  steamer 
immediately  fired ;  twice  the  steamer  fired  and  then  the  prahu's 
crew  ran  her  into  shoal  water,  she  was  followed  and  attacked  by  the 
pinnace,  and  her  crew  then  escaped  ashore,  but  were  all  killed  by 
men  from  Bintulu  and  Miri.  The  steamer  then  attacked  another 
prahu— and  after  firing  into  her  twice  rammed  and  sank  her.  Her 
crew  were  all  drowned,  killed,  or  captured,  and  the  captives,  about 
twenty  in  number,  escaped  on  board  the  steamer.  A  similar  fate 
overtook  a  third  prahu,  all  her  crew  perishing,  and  her  captives, 
about  twenty-five  in  number,  were  rescued  by  the  steamer.  The 
steamer  then  gave  chase  to  the  three  prahus  in  the  offing  and 
overtook    them.       These    three   prahus   were   lashed   together,    but 

1   Ruafa  Selamat — a  prayer  of  thanksgiving.     The  pirates  now  calculated  upon 
being  quit  of  men-of-war,  and  that  the  rest  of  their  voyage  would  be  free  from  danger. 

'ii_\-  more  people  captured  between   Bruil  and   Bintulu,  but  the 
narrator  probably  only  knew  of  those  captured  by  the  prahu  on  board  of  which  he 
was  a  prisoner  ;   he  is  at  fault,  too,  as  to  the  number  of  pirates  killed,  and  captives 
i-d. 


THE   LAST   OF  THE   PIRATES  277 

separated  after  being  fired  into.  A  short  engagement  ensued, 
which  resulted  in  all  three  of  the  prahus  being  sunk,  and  their 
crews  being  killed  or  captured.  Twenty-one  captives  were  rescued 
from  their  prahus.  And  thus  were  the  pirates  destroyed  off  Bintulu 
by  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak's  steamer  the  Rainbow. 

Moreover  it  is  estimated  that  the  pirates  lost  forty  men  killed, 
and  the  steamer  lost  but  one  man  killed  and  one  wounded.  And 
thus  Nakoda  Amzah  and  three  of  his  men  were  rescued,  and 
reached  Kuching  in  safety.  The  remaining  six  were  taken  away  in 
the  other  five  prahus  that  sailed  to  Belitong  and  Bangka,  and  were 
probably  taken  by  their  captors  to  Sulu  during  the  month  of  Haji. 

•  Written  in  Kuching  on  Friday  the  6th  day  of  Dulkaidah,  1278 
of  the  Hejira  (a.d.  1862). 

This  was  a  lesson  the  pirates  never  forgot.  From 
one  of  their  prahus  nineteen  men  escaped  in  a  fast  boat 
to  carry  the  tale  back  with  them,  soon  to  spread  to  all 
the  pirate  haunts.  Only  once  since,  some  seven  years 
later,  did  the  pirates  venture  down  to  the  Sarawak  coast, 
and  then  in  no  great  force.  They  were  attacked  in 
Kedurong  bay,  and  slain  to  a  man  by  the  Bintulu  people 
led  by  their  own  chiefs.  No  more  pirates  were  seen  on  the 
Sarawak  coast  afterwards. 

The  next  year  a  squadron  of  steamers  was  sent  from 
China  to  attack  and  root  out  all  these  pirates  ;  but  they 
came  for  no  end  except  to  sport  their  bunting,  for  nothing 
was  effected.  They  could  have  had  no  intelligence  officer 
with  them  with  a  knowledge  of  the  positions  of  the  piratical 
strongholds,  and  acquainted  with  the  languages,  habits,  and 
appearance  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  northern  coast  of 
Borneo  and  the  Sulu  archipelago. 

Though  the  pirates  never  troubled  Sarawak  again, 
they  continued  their  operations  in  other  parts  for  many 
years  afterwards.  As  late  as  1872,  Dutch  squadrons  had 
to  be  sent  out  against  them  along  the  east  coast  of  Borneo. 
And  in  1874  piracy  was  so  rife  in  the  Sulu  seas,  and  the 
Spanish  gunboats  so  unable  to  suppress  it,  that  the 
Governor-General  of  the  Philippines  issued  an  edict  doom- 
ing the  "  Moorish  marine  "  to  destruction.  The  Spanish 
cruisers  were  to  destroy  all  prahus  proceeding  from  the 
Sulu     islands    or    Tawi    Tawi.      Their    crews    were    to    be 


278  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

conveyed  to  Manila  to  labour  on  public  works,  and  those 
found  armed  were  to  be  punished  by  the  Military  Courts. 
It  was  hoped  that  these  untameable  and  seafaring  races 
would  be  thus  compelled  to  live  by  agricultural  pursuits 
alone.  This  merciless  condemnation  of  peaceable  traders 
and  voyagers  as  well  as  the  evil-doers  naturally  led  to  gross 
injustice,  and  to  intense  hatred  of  the  Spaniards.  Even 
those  not  bearing  arms,  engaged  in  peaceful  pursuits,  if 
apprehended,  were  doomed  to  compulsory  labour  ;  whereas 
those  found  armed,  met  with  short  shrift — and  all  were 
compelled  to  be  armed  for  their  own  protection. 

In  1879,  the  pirates  of  Tungku,  a  place  near  Sandakan, 
the  last  stronghold  of  the  Balanini  and  Lanun  pirates  in 
northern  Borneo,  made  several  excursions  along  the  coast 
capturing  as  many  as  200  people.  Then  the  place  was 
destroyed  by  H.M.S.  Kestrel.  (It  had  been  attacked  before 
by  the  Cleopatra  in  1851.)  Shortly  afterwards  the  British 
North  Borneo  Company  established  their  government  in 
North  Borneo,  and  piracy  virtually  ceased  along  the  coasts 
of  Borneo. 


MUSICAL    INSTRUMENTS,    KAYAN,    ETC. 


CHAPTER    X 


THE    KAYAN    EXPEDITION 


ARLY  in  1863,  the  Rajah 
was  again  obliged  to 
leave  for  Sarawak,  owing 
to  certain  complications 
having  arisen,  due  to  the 
acts  of  his  nephew, 
the  Rajah  Muda. 

Into  this  matter 
it  is  not  our  inten- 
tion to  enter  at  length.  It  has 
already  been  dealt  with  fully  in  both 
Miss  Jacob's  and  Sir  Spencer  St. 
John's  biographies  of  the  Rajah,  and 
it  is  sufficient  to  say  here  that  it  was 
mainly  the  result  of  an  inexplicable 
misconception  of  the  policy  being 
pursued  by  the  Rajah  in  England. 
The  formal  recognition  of  Sarawak  was  the  sole 
proposal  before  the  British  Government.  It  is  true  the 
Rajah  trusted  that  having  once  gained  this  England  would 
not  leave  Sarawak  to  her  fate  in  the  event  of  the  failure  of 
his    Government  ;    but    he    wrote :    "  On    every    account    of 

279 


KAYAN  MORTUARY. 


280  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

feeling  of  pride,  of  attachment  to  the  people,  I  desire  the 
Government  to  be  continued."  The  negotiations  had  not 
extended  to  any  overtures  for  a  transfer,  or  proposals  of 
protection.  Recognition  at  this  time  was  all  important, 
not  only  to  give  a  status  to  the  Government,  and  confidence 
to  the  people,  but  to  encourage  the  introduction  of  capital, 
without  which  the  country  could  not  advance. 

It  was  against  the  mistaken  idea  of  a  transfer  of  the 
country  to  England  that  the  Rajah  Muda  protested.  Yet 
a  short  time  before  he  himself  had  suggested  such  a  transfer 
to  Belgium,  and,  a  few  years  previously  that  the  country 
should  be  sold  either  to  England  or  to  the  Borneo 
Company. 

We  may  mention  here  that  the  negotiations  with 
Belgium  had  fallen  through  the  previous  year.  The  reason 
is  not  difficult  to  discover,  for  the  Rajah  wrote :  "  I  wrote 
to  you  about  the  Duke  of  Brabant  and  my  talk  with  him. 
His  views  must  change  greatly  before  I  entrust  our  people 
to  his  guardianship." 

The  Premier,  Lord  Palmerston,  and  the  Secretary  for 
Foreign  Affairs,  Lord  John  Russell,  with  other  influential 
members  of  both  Houses,  were  now  very  favourably 
inclined  towards  the  Rajah  and  Sarawak.  Lord  John 
Russell  had  pledged  himself  to  lay  the  statement  of  facts 
as  prepared  by  the  Rajah  before  the  Law  Officers  of  the 
crown  for  their  opinion,  and  should  it  be  favourable  to 
bring  the  question  of  recognition  of  Sarawak  before  the 
Cabinet.1  The  Law  Officers  were  called  upon  to  decide 
whether  Sarawak  was  independent  of  or  feudatory  to  Brum. 
The  decision  was  favourable,  for  Lord  John  Russell 
subsequently  wrote  to  the  Rajah  :  "  If  your  authority  is 
undisputed,  he  (Lord  Russell)  is  now  ready  at  once  to 
propose  to  the  Cabinet  the  recognition  of  Sarawak  as  an 
independent  State  under  your  rule  and  Government." 

Before    his    return    to    England    the    Rajah    heard    that 

recognition  had   been  granted,  though  he  was  not  officially 

notified  of  the  fact  until   his  arrival  there.      It  was   full  and 

complete  ;     and    a   Consul    was   appointed    to   Sarawak   for 

1  From  a  letter  of  die  Rajah  itember  9,  1862. 


THE  KAYAN  EXPEDITION  281 

whom  an  exequatur  was  asked  of  the  Rajah.1  The  Rajah's 
forethought,  which  we  have  already  recorded,  that  "  time 
brings  changes,  and  may  work  on  the  British  Government " 
was  thus  fully  justified.  The  Duke  of  Newcastle,  Lords 
Palmerston  and  John  Russell,  Sir  G.  Grey,  the  Honble. 
Sidney  Herbert,  and  Mr.  Gladstone  had  been  members  of 
the  Cabinet  that  issued  the  Commission,  as  they  were  now 
members  of  the  Cabinet  that  granted  the  long  refused 
recognition. 

The  Tuan  Muda  had  accompanied  the  Rajah  from 
England.  He  had  assumed  the  surname  of  Brooke  by  the 
desire  of  his  uncle,  and  this  had  been  decided  upon  before 
the  defection  of  his  brother  had  been  known.  The  Rajah 
desired  it  because  it  was  the  name  of  the  ruling  family,  and 
it  would  remove  confusion  and  ambiguity,  and  place  his 
nephew  in  a  clearer  position  before  the  world.  The  Tuan 
Muda  refused  to  take  the  title  of  Rajah  Muda,  or  to  be 
formally  recognised  as  his  uncle's  heir,  trusting  that  his 
brother  might  pave  the  way  to  reconciliation  and  to  his 
reinstatement.2 

Whilst  the  Rajah  remained  at  Kuching  to  restore  order, 
and  to  introduce  proper  systems  into  the  various  depart- 
ments, the  Tuan  Muda  returned  to  Sekrang,  where  he^  was 
received  with  many  demonstrations  of  good  feeling.  The 
population  turned  out  and  towed  and  escorted  his  pinnace 
up  the  river,  and  salutes  were  fired  wherever  he  passed.  But 
they  were  not  more  glad  to  welcome  him,  than  he  was  to 
see  them.  He  then  visited  all  the  outstations  as  far  as 
Bintulu.  Muka  he  found  prosperous,  and  the  people  happy. 
He  then  returned  to  Sekrang  to  prepare  for  the  expedition 
against  the  Kayans. 

This  powerful  tribe  has  already  been  spoken  of  as  living 
far  inland  on  the  head-waters  of  the  Rejang.  They  were  a 
continual  trouble  to  the  Dayaks  who  lived  on  that  same 
river,  but  lower  down,  raiding  their  country,  taking  heads, 
and  making  captives,  whom  they  tortured  to  death.  Their 
country  was  not   easily  accessible,  on  account  of  the  rapids 

1    Mr.  G.  T.  Ricketts  was  appointed  Consul,  January  19,   1864. 
2  Captain  Brooke  died  the  same  year  as  the  Rajah. 


2S2  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

in  the  river.  The  first  rapids  on  the  Rejang  are  about  170 
miles  from  the  mouth  ;  these  passed,  the  river  is  navigable 
for  sixty  miles,  then  ensue  further  rapids  for  about  five  miles, 
and  then  again  it  is  navigable  for  fifty  more.  The  upper 
rapids,  called  those  of  Makun,  are  the  most  serious  and 
difficult  to  overcome,  so  serious,  indeed,  that  the  Kayans  did 
not  suppose  it  possible  that  an  enemy  could  ascend  above  them. 

But  it  was  necessary  to  chastise  and  bring  these  trouble- 
some neighbours  into  subjection.  Before  the  Tuan  Muda 
had  left  for  England  an  ultimatum  had  been  sent  to  Akam 
Xipa  to  deliver  up  the  murderers  of  Steele  and  Fox.  They 
had  been  committing  great  depredations  on  the  lower 
Rejang,  and  Mr.  Cruickshank,  the  Resident  there,  had 
appealed  to  the  Government  at  Kuching  to  bridle  them. 
Not  only  were  the  murderers  of  Messrs.  Steele  and  Fox 
with  them,  but,  as  we  have  previously  mentioned,  they 
had  lately  descended  and  made  a  treacherous  attack  on 
the  Katibas  Dayaks,  who  had  stood  true  to  the  Sarawak 
Government.  Professing  friendship,  they  had  seized  an 
occasion  when  most  of  the  men  of  Katibas  were  absent, 
and  had  killed  seventeen  of  the  men  who  had  remained  at 
their  homes,  and  a  hundred  women  and  children.  Their 
captives  they  tortured  in  the  most  horrible  manner,  hacking 
them  with  knives  and  gouging  out  their  eyes  before  putting 
them  to  death.  And  not  only  were  the  men  thus  treated, 
but  also  most  of  the  women.  They  burnt  fourteen  long 
houses,  or  villages,  and  decamped. 

Then  they  had  engaged  a  man  named  Paring  to  lure 
some  of  the  Dayaks  into  an  ambush.  Paring,  a  Kayan,  had 
married  a  Dayak  wife,  and  when  he  came  to  Katibas  to 
visit  his  wife's  relations  he  persuaded  eighteen  men  to 
accompany  him  into  the  Kayan  country  to  propose  terms  of 
peace,  and  when  they  demurred  he  made  himself  responsible 
for  the  safety  of  the  whole  party.  Having  thus  overcome 
their  fears  he  led  them  to  a  place  where  the  Kayans,  under 
their  chief  Oyong  Hang,1  were   lurking  in  waiting  for  them. 

1  Oyong  Hang  was  the  chief  of  the  Bintulu  Kayans,  and  was  at  one  time  friendly 
to  the  Government,  but  he  had  thrown  off  his  allegiance  and  joined  Akam  Nipa. 

1  >yong  is  prefixed  to  the  name  of  a  Kayan  on  the  death  of  his  firstborn  ;  Akam. 
on  the  death  of  a  younger  child. 


THE   KAYAN   EXPEDITION 


28 


Eleven  were  at  once  bound  hand  and  foot,  but  seven 
managed  to  escape  into  the  jungle,  and  after  several  days 
returned  in  a  famished  condition  to  Katibas.  The  eleven 
were  conveyed  up  the  river,  and  on  their  way  were  carried 
into  every  Kayan  house  to  be  tortured  by  the  women.  On 
arriving  at  Oyong  Hang's  abode,  one  of  them  named  Boyong 
was  singled  out  to  be  sacri- 
ficed so  as  to  attend  in  the 
abode  of  spirits  the  soul  of 
Oyong  Hang's  son,  who  had 
lately  died.  He  was  to  be 
buried  alive  under  a  huge 
wooden  pillar.the  mausoleum 
of  Oyong  Hang's  son,  early 
on  the  following  morning. 
However,  during  the  night, 
Boyong  and  another  effected 
their  escape,  ran  into  the 
jungle,  and  found  their  way 
to  the  foot  of  the  first  rapids 
after  twenty  days'  wandering. 
They  were  then  in  such  an 
exhausted  condition  that 
they  found  it  impossible  to 
proceed  further  on  foot,  ac- 
cordingly they  lashed  them- 
selves by  rattans  to  a  log 
in  the  river,  drifted  down 
stream,  and  were  eventually 
picked      up      and      rescued. 

All  the  remaining  men  were  strangled  by  the  Kayans.  The 
scoundrel  Paring,  not  thinking  that  his  villainy  had  been 
disclosed,  had  the  audacity  to  go  among  the  Dayaks  again, 
when  he  was  seized  and  brought  to  Kanowit,  where  he  was 
sentenced  to  death.  But  when  in  confinement,  awaiting  the 
approval  of  the  sentence  from  Kuching,  he  effected  his 
escape.  The  alarm  was,  however,  at  once  given,  and  he 
was  pursued  into  the  jungle  by  the  Dayaks  and  killed. 

In   an  expedition  such   as  was  contemplated,  the  Rajah 


OLD    PUNAN    MORTUARY. 


284  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

or  his  deputy  was  obliged  to  obtain  the  voluntary  assistance 
of  his  subjects.  He  had  no  paid  army,  he  did  not  even 
provision  the  host  for  the  expedition. 

On  this  occasion  the  Tuan  Muda  consulted  some  of  the 
chiefs  at  Sekrang  as  to  the  feasibility  of  attacking  the  Kayans. 
The  Dayaks  were  never  unwilling  to  join  in  such  an  excursion, 
though  the  only  inducement  that  could  be  held  out  was  loot, 
and  relief  from  further  annoyance.  But  it  was  laid  down  by 
the  Government  that  no  woman  or  child  was  to  be  molested. 

As  the  chiefs  thought  that  the  proposed  attack  might  be 
made,  arrangements  were  pressed  forward,  and  on  May  19, 
1  S63,  at  sunset,  two  guns  were  fired  as  a  preparatory  signal 
for  the  start  from  Sekrang,  and  the  Tuan  Muda  led  the 
party  that  was  to  proceed  thence  down  the  Batang  Lupar 
and  coast  to  the  mouth  of  the  Rejang,  picking  up  on  the 
way  contingents  of  volunteers.  Mr.  Watson  was  at  Kabong 
(Kalaka)  at  the  head  of  a  detachment,  and  Mr.  Stuart  Johnson 
was  waiting  at  Kanowit,  along  with  Sergeant  Lees  in  charge 
of  guns,  muskets,  and  ammunition. 

At  mid-day  on  the  20th,  the  expedition  started  from 
Sekrang,  "  My  crew  were  mostly  old  followers  and  servants 
who  had  been  with  me  for  years.  Our  boat  was  in  perfect 
order,  well  painted  and  decorated  with  flags  ;  for  nothing 
tells  so  much  as  pride  instilled  and  esprit  de  corps  encouraged 
in  the  minds  of  the  people."1 

On  the  2  1  st,  Lingga  was  reached  and  Banting  visited. 
The  natives  there,  the  Banting  or  Balau  Dayaks,  were  not 
eager  to  join  the  expedition  as  they  were  behindhand  in 
their  farming  operations  ;  however,  after  some  hesitation  and 
delay,  they  followed.  On  the  23rd,  Kabong  was  attained, 
the  town  at  the  mouth  of  the  Kalaka  river.  Here  were 
Malays,  useful  fighting  men,  but  for  all  that  they  showed 
reluctance  to  unite  in  the  expedition.  This  is  easily 
explicable,  as  they  were  apprehensive  of  attacking  tribes  at 
such  a  distance,  and  whom  they  had  been  bred  up  to  fear 
as  the  most  powerful  in  Borneo.  And  the  Malays,  unlike 
the  Sea-Dayaks,  though  braver,  do  not  love  fighting  for  the 
sake  of  fighting.      They  shirked,  but  they  went. 

1    Ten   Yean  in  Sarawak,  from  which  this  account  is  taken. 


THE  KAYAN   EXPEDITION  285 

On  the  24th,  at  starting  the  contingent  consisted  of  sixty 
boats,  with  an  average  of  forty  men  in  each,  and  pushed  up 
the  mouth  of  the  Rejang  to  Serikei,  and  Mr.  Watson  had 
gone  on  with  forty  boats  from  Saribas.  On  the  following 
day  Sibu  was  reached,  where  lived  the  Banyoks.  Tani  had 
been  their  chief,  the  conspirator  who  had  been  sentenced  to 
death  by  the  Tuan  Muda,  as  mentioned  in  a  previous  chapter. 
But  now  Tani's  son,  Buju,1  at  the  head  of  his  fighting  men, 
readily  joined  forces  to  those  of  the  Tuan  Muda.  On 
the  29th  at  2  A.M.  by  hard  paddling,  Kanowit  was  reached. 
"  At  daylight  our  force  had  congregated  about  the  village 
and  on  each  bank  of  the  river,  which  was  so  broad  that 
thousands  of  boats  would  not  have  made  much  show.  After 
having  coffee,  I  commenced  work  with  Sergeant  Lees  in 
examining  all  the  stores,  arms,  and  ammunition.  The  heavy 
guns  and  shot  had  been  already  despatched  by  the  Kanowit 
and  Katibas  boats,  which  were  now  two  days'  start  ahead 
of  us.  I  had  arranged  that  the  foot  of  the  first  rapids 
should  be  our  rendezvous,  and  the  enemy  were  reported 
to  be  six  days  distant  above  this  point.  It  took  the  greater 
part  of  the  day  distributing  arms,  ammunition,  and  sundry 
other  things  to  be  carried  by  the  force.  Our  Europeans  of 
the  party  were  Messrs.  Watson,  Cruickshank,  my  younger 
brother,  Sergeant  Lees,  and  Lucas  (the  Captain)  of  the  Venus. 
"  26th. — The  principal  natives  persuaded  me  to  remain 
over  to-day  or  I  would  have  pushed  on  to  lose  no  time  in 
this  fine  weather.  They  require  time  to  settle  many  little 
matters  with  which  they  are  particular.  Some  made  their 
wills,  others  sent  letters  to  their  nearest  relatives,  acquainting 
them  with  their  last  wishes,  and  all  our  boats  needed  much 
preparation.  The  one  prepared  for  me,  into  which  I  had 
to  shift  all  my  things,  was  sixty-six  feet  long,  shaped  like  a 
coffin  and  totally  devoid  of  elegance  and  beauty.  She 
consisted  of  a  single  tree  hollowed  out  and  round  at  the 
bottom,  but  raised  a  little  at  her  extremities.  When  the 
hollowing  out  is  done,  a  bow  and  a  stern-piece  are  fastened 
with  rattans  ;  they  have  not  a  nail  in  them  ;  two  light 
planks    are    also  tied    on   top   and   then   they   are   complete. 

1  See  chap.  vii.  p.   107. 


2S6  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Some  have  much  speed,  and  are  capable  of  carrying  from 
forty  to  seventy  men  with  a  month's  provision  on  board. 
They  are  adapted  for  passing  the  rapids,  are  buoyant  in  the 
falls,  and  the  crews  are  able  to  use  a  long  sweeping  stroke 
with  the  paddles,  such  as  could  not  be  managed  in  shorter 
boats. 

"  29///. — As  the  fort  clock  struck  eight,  a  gun  was  fired  as 
a  signal  for  starting,  and  about  eighty  boats  left  together  ; 
others  had  been  going  on  during  the  night,  and  many  were 
still  behind.  The  current  ran  strong  against  us,  and  we 
were  forced  to  hug  the  bank. 

"  The  banks  above  Kanowit  are  steep,  and  Kanowit 
itself  may  be  said  to  be  the  first  pretty  spot  in  the  Rejang 
river,  but  above  it  is  much  variety  of  scenery — windings  of  the 
river,  hills  and  hillocks  of  every  shape." 

As  they  ascended,  ruined  habitations  and  deserted 
paddy-fields  were  passed,  that  had  been  ravaged  by  the 
Kayans  ;  to  put  a  term  to  their  violence  a  fort  had  been 
erected  at  Xgmah,  between  Katibas  and  Kanowit.  This 
was  now  dismantled  by  the  Tuan  Muda  on  his  way  up,  and 
he  took  the  men  and  guns  along  with  him.  Above  the 
junction  of  the  Katibas  with  the  Rejang  for  over  a  hundred 
miles  the  country  was  uninhabited. 

On  the  3  1st,  the  Baleh  river,  the  left  hand  branch  of  the 
Rejang,  was  passed.  Here  the  character  of  the  scenery 
changes,  the  sides  become  craggy,  and  the  river  rolls  over 
masses  of  rock,  and  through  veritable  gorges,  with  a  swift 
current. 

On  June  the  1st,  the  foot  of  the  first  rapid  was  reached, 
where  the  rendezvous  had  been  appointed.  Here  all  those 
who  had  gone  on  before  were  assembled  in  thousands. 
"  Groups  of  Dayaks  in  all  directions — some  lounging  on 
rocks,  or  on  the  patches  of  white  sand  in  the  bight, 
others  mending  their  boats  which  they  had  hauled  up  in  the 
most  favourable  places.  Many  were  squatting  round  fires 
and  cooking.  Bright  colours  of  clothes,  flags,  and  painted 
boats  were  interspersed  among  them." 

A  council  was  held  that  same  afternoon,  and  further 
proceedings  were  discussed.      A  hundred  chiefs  were  present, 


THE  KAYAN   EXPEDITION  287 

and  the  Tuan  Muda  spoke,  arranging  the  order  of  the  bala, 
and  insisting  that  the  lives  of  women  and  children  must  be 
spared,  and  that  the  chiefs  should  be  held  responsible  for 
the  conduct  of  their  followers.  He  was  followed  by  Balang, 
u  an  ugly  little  broad  man,  with  the  jowl  of  a  hog,"  the 
chief  of  Katibas,  whose  house  had  been  burnt  by  the  Kayans, 
all  his  property  carried  off,  and  many  of  his  relatives  and 
people  killed.  "  I  have  no  wish  to  return,"  said  he,  "  if 
this  expedition  is  unsuccessful.  They  may  cook  my  head  if 
I  can't  cook  theirs." 1  The  force  then  consisted  of  300 
boats  carrying  12,000  men. 

On  the  following  day  the  ascent  of  the  Pelagus  rapids 
was  begun.  The  boats  were  forced  up  by  the  men  with 
poles  in  their  hands,  and  were  aided  by  others  on  the  banks 
hauling  with  ropes  ;  whilst  others  again,  where  the  water 
was  shallow,  were  immersed  in  it  pulling  and  shoving. 

"  Men  seemed  like  ducks  in  the  water.  Swimmers  and 
divers  all  had  their  duties,  and  the  amount  of  exertion  of 
this  kind  which  the  natives  will  undergo  is  simply  wonderful. 
They  keep  it  up  hour  after  hour  in  the  coldest  mountain 
stream,  jumping  on  to  and  over  places  where  an  Englishman 
could  not  gain  a  foothold,  as  the  rocks  are  slippery  as 
glass,  and  many  of  the  ridges  are  not  over  three  inches  wide, 
making  one  giddy  to  look  at  them." 

After  a  while  the  first  portion  of  the  rapids  was  safely 
surmounted,  and  a  basin  of  calmly  flowing  water  was  reached. 
But  this  was  not  far,  it  afforded  a  breathing  space  before  the 
next  difficult  point  was  reached,  a  perpendicular  fall  of  ten 
feet.  Here  was  a  portage  ;  provisions,  arms,  and  ammunition 
had  to  be  carried  by  land,  and  the  boats  hauled  over  sixty 
feet  of  a  steep  rocky  incline,  covered  with  water  when  the 
river  was  full,  but  now  left  dry.  In  the  process,  however,  a 
good  many  of  the  boats  went  to  pieces,  and  the  crews  had 
to  be  partitioned  among  the  others. 

This  was  followed  by  another  fall,  that  had  to  be  sur- 
mounted in  the  same  way.  "  This  last  was  a  terrible  job, 
and  at  every  foot  gained,  I  thought  my  coffin  would  have 
gone  in  two,  as  she  creaked  piteously.      But  at  last  we  gained 

1   For  the  fate  of  this  chief  see  chap.  xii.  p.  320. 


288 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


the  summit  of  the  first  rapids.  Here  we  stopped,  as  the  crews 
required  rest,  and  the  sun  was  piercingly  hot."  The  whole 
length  of  this  first  rapid  is  four  miles,  and  the  breadth  of 
the  river  six  hundred  yards.  Not  one  third  of  the  force  had 
as  yet  surmounted  it,  and  some  were  discouraged  and  made 
no  attempt  to  do  so. 

Xext  day,  the  3rd,  the  Tuan  Muda's  thirty-fourth  birth- 


KAYAN  MORTUARY. 


day,  the  coffin  was  advancing  up  stream  where  the  river 
was  broken  up  by  islets  and  running  between  them,  like  a 
mill  race,  followed  by  the  boat  containing  Mr.  Cruickshank 
and  Mr.  Stuart  Johnson,  when,  in  punting,  it  was  driven 
against  a  submerged  rock  and  at  once  began  to  fill.  Seizing 
his  gold  watch  and  chain,  the  Tuan  Muda  sprang  into  the 
water  and  swam  to  the  boat  that  followed  and  was  taken  in  ; 
but  provisions,  the  Tuan  Muda's  sword,  spyglass,  rugs,  etc., 
all  new  from  England,  were  irretrievably  lost,  and  the  whole 
crew  were  boatless  ;  for  the  coffin  was  whirled  down  the 
stream. 

"  4///. — We  advanced  again  as  usual,  and  after  about  an 


THE  KAYAN   EXPEDITION  289 

hour's  hard  pulling  and  many  ropes,  the  stream  became 
smooth  and  deep,  and  no  more  rocks  were  in  sight.  The 
reaches  were  long  and  straight,  with  a  steady  current  of 
two  and  a  half  knots.  The  land  was  level  without  being 
swampy,  and  the  soil  appeared  to  be  a  rich  yellow  loam. 
What  land  for  agriculture  !   and  it  extends  for  miles." 

They  were  now  on  the  fringe  of  the  Kayan  country,  and 
they  came  on  the  remains  of  the  house  of  the  chief  Akam 
Nipa,  which  he  had  deserted.  The  enemy  had  retired  before 
the  advancing  force,  and  not  one  had  as  yet  shown  himself ; 
though  a  small  party,  consisting  of  seven  men,  that  had  gone 
into  the  jungle  hunting,  three  days  before,  thinking  that 
the  Kayans  had  all  retreated,  had  incautiously  lain  down 
to  sleep,  when  they  were  captured,  tortured  slowly  to  death 
on  the  spot,  and  then  decapitated. 

On  the  6th,  the  Tekok  rapids  were  encountered,  and 
another  abandoned  Kayan  village  passed.  The  hills  now 
began  to  show,  and  the  river  to  flow  over  rocks  and  between 
bluffs.  Had  this  spot  been  held  by  the  enemy,  it  would 
have  been  most  difficult  to  pass,  but  they  had  considered  it 
best  to  retreat. 

On  the  7th,  the  abandoned  village  of  the  Sekapans *  was 
reached  and  committed  to  the  flames.  There,  farming 
grounds  with  the  jungle  freshly  cut  were  found  on  both 
sides  of  the  river.  The  scenery  was  very  beautiful,  but  there 
was  very  little  cultivation.  The  bays  are  sometimes  five 
hundred  yards  in  width,  giving  the  appearance  of  a  land- 
locked lake  rather  than  a  running  river.  The  height  of  the 
hills  varies  under  a  thousand  feet.  Many  fruit  trees  were  on 
the  bank. 

"  We  were  pulling  with  all  our  sinews,  having  continued 
it  since  morning,  when  at  3  P.M.  we  descried  a  sampan 
manned  by  a  crew  dressed  in  various  colours,  steering  for  us. 
They  brought  news  of  the  enemy  being  fortified  in  a  house  2 
round  the  next  point,  and  on  the  leading  boats  approaching 
they  were  fired  into,  and  some  were  killed  and  others 
wounded.     The  enemy's  house  was  already  surrounded,  they 

1  Belaga,  where  is  now  a  strong  fort,  and  a  Chinese  and  Malay  trading  station,  is 
just  above  this. 

2  The  village  of  the  Kajaman  tribe,  a  short  distance  above  Belaga. 


290  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

said,  but  every  time  our  fellows  advanced   some  were  shot 
down. 

"  Our  crew  pulled  on,  and  on  rounding  the  point,  the 
stockaded  dwelling  of  the  enemy  hove  in  sight,  situated  on 
a  low  spit.  We  steered  across,  out  of  the  enemy's  range 
into  the  bay,  where  all  the  boats  of  the  advance  party  had 
collected." 

Nothing  could  be  effected  till  more  of  the  force  had 
come  up,  and  till  the  field-piece  could  be  mounted.  This 
last  was  done  during  the  night,  and  all  was  made  ready 
for  demolishing  the  fortified  place  in  the  morning  ;  but 
the  enemy,  taking  advantage  of  the  darkness,  had  de- 
camped in  the  night.  It  was  afterwards  ascertained  that 
the  bravest  of  the  Kayans  had  been  placed  there,  with  strict 
orders  to  hold  the  place  against  the  advancing  flotilla.  All 
the  worst  characters  and  principal  leaders  had  been  there  too, 
and  among  them  Sawing,  Sakalai,  and  Talip.  The  house 
was  now  burnt,  after  having  been  rifled,  and  parties  of  Dayaks 
were  sent  in  all  directions  to  destroy  the  villages  of  the 
Kayans.  Among  the  spoil  taken  was  a  Gusi  jar  valued 
at  £150.  In  all  directions  smoke  arose,  and  at  night  the 
flames  could  be  seen  leaping  above  the  tree-tops  from  the 
burning  houses. 

The  Tuan  Muda  now  pushed  on  and  passed  the  Majawa 
rapids. 

"  When  we  had  reached  the  upper  end  of  the  gorge 
we  could  plainly  survey  the  fall  behind  us — our  force  coming 
up  one  by  one,  with  dense  masses  of  thousands  on  the  rocks, 
others  wending  an  ant-like  pilgrimage  around  the  almost 
perpendicular  banks  and  ledges.  Toes  and  fingers  often 
came  in  useful  for  clinging  to  every  niche. 

"  Above  this  point  we  again  reached  smooth  and  deep 
water,  running  quietly.  The  crews  were  stopping  and 
plundering  things  thrown  aside  by  the  enemy  as  they  re- 
treated. We  pulled  in  untroubled  waters  for  only  an  hour, 
and  then  arrived  at  dangerous  rocky  places,  gradually  getting 
steeper  and  steeper.  The  stream  rushed  past,  and  numbers 
of  the  boats  were  damaged.  Fortunately  we  had  picked 
up  many  native    boats.      The  channels   wound    circuitously 


THE  KAYAN   EXPEDITION  291 

among  very  sharp  rocks,  over  which  we  had  to  use  ropes. 
Sergeant  Lee's  boat  was  smashed,  and  he  and  his  crew  were 
deposited  on  a  rock  for  some  hours.  We  came  to  for  the 
night  in  a  bight,  surrounded  in  every  direction  by  rocks. 
The  leaders  of  our  force  lost  one  man  here  ;  as  he  was  taking 
out  a  rope,  an  enemy  blew  a  poisoned  arrow  into  his  chest, 
which  knocked  him  down,  when  his  head  was  cut  off." 

On  the  1  ith,  the  foot  of  the  Makun  rapid  was  reached. 
But  for  some  way  below  the  great  cataract  the  river  eddies 
and  boils  and  plunges  over  rocks,  and  races  between  pro- 
jecting fangs  and  islets.  Here  for  two  hours  they  had  to 
toil  with  poles  and  ropes.  The  Makun  rapid  is  a  descent  of 
the  river  in  one  great  slide,  with  swirls  and  whirlpools,  and 
with  such  force  that  it  is  only  possible  to  ascend  it,  one  boat 
at  a  time,  pulled  by  ropes,  and  with  two  or  three  in  her 
punting  to  control  her  movements,  and  prevent  her  being 
stove  in  against  the  rocks. 

The  ascent  was  begun  on  the  11th,  and  successfully 
accomplished.      But  fifteen  boats  were  lost. 

"  I  resolved  to  push  on  with  the  force  we  had,  viz.  150 
Malays  and  about  100  Dyak  boats.  Watson  and  Stuart 
were  now  boatless,  and  they  also  had  to  harbour  in  Fitz's 
boat,  which  had  become  the  refuge  of  the  destitute.  A 
satisfaction  prevails  at  having  overcome  the  greatest  obstacle 
in  the  approach  to  the  Kayan  confines.  We  proceeded 
about  five  miles,  and  towards  evening  received  news  that 
some  captives  had  been  taken.  The  enemy  held  nowhere 
and  were  pursued  like  sheep.  I  at  once  decided  to  go  no 
farther,  as  our  work  of  destruction  would  serve  as  a  sufficient 
punishment  for  these  people,  who  have  proved  themselves 
a  most  dastardly  set  of  cowards,  running  on  every  occasion, 
leaving  their  children  and  women  at  the  mercy  of  the  Dyaks. 
These  stupid  inhabitants  trusted  to  the  superstitious  traditions 
of  their  forefathers  to  guard  them  without  the  help  of  man, 
and  now  awakened  to  the  mistake  of  their  impregnability, 
too  late.  They  resorted  to  their  heels  on  every  occasion  ; 
and  two  young  boys  yesterday  chased  up  a  hill  two  men 
equal  to  the  boys  in  arms,  both  parties  having  swords  only. 

"  Our  warlike  munitions  have  been  useless,  and   the  gun 


292  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

only  employed  in  firing  twenty-one  rounds  on  the  bank  in 
the  afternoon.  A  boat  arrived  this  morning,  bringing  three 
captives,  one  of  whom  I  determined  to  leave  on  the  bank 
to  take  a  message,  after  we  had  left,  to  Oyong  Hang.  At 
sunset  we  collected  the  few  chiefs,  and  the  captive,  a  middle- 
aged  woman,  was  brought  before  us.  I  told  her,  by  means 
of  an  interpreter,  that  we  attacked  their  country,  because 
they  had  taken  part  against  our  friends  and  the  subjects  of 
Sarawak,  and  had  harboured  the  three  chief  murderers  of 
Messrs.  Fox  and  Steele,  named  Sakalai,  Sawing,  and  Talip. 
Whoever  befriended  them  must  necessarily  become  our 
enemies;  besides,  they  had  made  several  attacks  on  the  Dyaks. 
I  gave  her  a  I  2-pounder  shot  and  a  Sarawak  flag,  which  were 
to  be  presented  to  Oyong  Hang  for  him  to  make  his  choice. 
The  latter  was  an  emblem  of  peace,  which  would  provide 
him  with  a  safe-conduct  to  Kanowit,  in  order  to  open  peace- 
ful relations.  The  shot  was  an  emblem  of  war,  which  we 
should  conclude  he  had  accepted  if  he  did  not  shortly  make 
his  appearance  with  the  flag.  All  attacks  by  Dyaks  would 
be  forbidden  for  the  present,  as  it  was  our  desire  to  be  on 
friendly  terms. 

"  The  Dyak  from  whom  I  took  the  captive  complained 
bitterly,  and  said  he  had  lost  a  mother  and  sister,  killed  by 
the  Kayans,  and  now  wanted  her  (head)  in  exchange.  I 
gave  them  to  understand  plainly  that  whoever  touched  her 
would  suffer  death. 

"  i^tJiand  14th. — We  waited  for  loiterers,  who  provoked 
me  by  their  dilatoriness.  Some  had  been  wounded  bv 
poisoned  arrows,  but  the  only  effect  was  feverishness.  A  few 
had  ghastly  wounds  from  spears.  There  had  been  more 
dreadful  sights  in  this  campaign  than  I  had  bargained  for. 
Many  women  and  children  even  had  been  killed  by  our 
people,  who  state,  with  some  degree  of  truth,  that  in  their 
excitement  they  had  mistaken  them  for  men,  as  they  wore 
head-dresses  similar  to  the  dress  of  the  men  in  this  country. 
I  resolved  on  any  future  occasion  when  I  should  have  to 
call  out  the  Dyaks,  that  a  heavy  fine  should  be  imposed 
on  any  one  perpetrating  such  acts.  Still,  at  present,  they  can 
scarcely  be  expected  to  comprehend  such  a  rule,  as  many 


THE  KAYAN   EXPEDITION  293 

are  now  thirsting  for  revenge,  smarting  under  the  loss  of 
wives,  mothers,  and  sisters,  mercilessly  tortured  and  killed  by 
the  Kayans,  who  have  always  been  in  the  habit  of  practising 
the  blackest  treachery  and  making  sudden  attacks  when 
professing  the  staunchest  friendship. 

"  On  looking  over  our  force,  and  counting  those  passing,  I 
calculated  that  we  must  number  five  hundred  large  boats, 
containing  about  fifteen  thousand  men — Dyaks  of  some 
twenty  different  branch  tribes,  who  had  mostly  been  each 
other's  enemies  in  former  times." 

On  the  return  of  the  expedition,  Kanowit  was  reached 
on  the  17th,  and  thence  the  Tuan  Muda  went  back  to  his 
station  at  Sekrang,  and  waited  there  for  nearly  a  month 
before  a  deputation  of  Kayans  arrived,  bearing  the  flag  that 
had  been  left  with  the  captive  woman.  They  numbered 
seventy  men,  and  came  to  profess  their  desire  for  peace 
in  the  future.  They  reported  that  their  chief  Oyong  Hang 
had  summoned  the  people  to  a  conference,  and  then  and 
there  had  cut  down  Talip,  and  his  followers  had  put  Sakalai 
to  death,  but  Sawing,  suspecting  what  would  be  the  deter- 
mination of  the  Kayans,  had  escaped  a  few  days  previously.1 

Accordingly  the  month  of  August  was  appointed  for 
the  gathering  of  a  large  assembly  of  the  tribes  to  conclude 
a  peace  with  the  Kayans.  There  were,  however,  several 
hitches,  and  the  meeting  did  not  take  place  until  October. 

"  The  Kayan  peace  was  concluded  this  month,  when  the 
chiefs  arrived  at  Kanowit  for  that  purpose.  They  met  the 
Dyaks,  and  a  pig  was  killed,  according  to  custom.  The  terms 
and  points  to  be  sacredly  attended  to  were  all  discussed 
before  the  Resident  of  the  place.  Some  of  the  chiefs  of  the 
Keniah  country  were  also  present,  and  expressed  a  desire 
for  trade  and  friendship.  They  talked  of  removing  down 
the  river.  At  this  meeting  there  were  representatives  of 
25,000  souls,  who  were  all  strangers  to  us,  although  living 
within  the  limits  of  Sarawak  territory.  This  peace  had  been 
the  great  event  of  the  year  1863,  and  leaves  Sarawak 
without  an   enemy  in  her  dominions,  and  without  an  inter- 

1  Talip  was  a  Matu  Melanau  of  good  birth  ;  Sakalai  was  a  chief  of  the  Kanowit 
tribe;  and  Sawing  was  half  Ukit  and  half  Tanjong. 


294  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

tribal  war  of  any  description.  This  is  the  first  time  the 
country  has  had  peace." 

In  December,  Sawing,  the  last  of  the  murderers  of  Fox 
and  Steele,  was  given  up,  tried,  and  executed. 

"  And  now,"  says  the  Tuan  Muda,  "  the  deaths  of  those 
who  were  private  friends  and  public  servants,  and  who  had 
occupied  a  distant  and  isolated  out-station,  have  been 
completely  avenged." 

The  Rajah  remained  in  Sarawak  till  after  the  subjection 
of  the  Kayans,  and  then,  having  handed  over  the  Government 
to  the  Tuan  Muda,  left  in  September,  1863,  and  "  bade  fare- 
well to  the  people  and  the  country  he  was  never  to  see 
asrain." 


B  k 


mWmmm^  fti^mmmw 


\ .' . 


m. 


A    SEA-DAYAK    HOUSE    OR    VILLAGE. 


CHAPTER    XI 

THE    END    OF    THE    FIRST    STAGE 


E    are   drawing 
near  to  the  close 
of  the  first  stage 
in    the    History 
of  Sarawak.     It 
had    opened    with    great 
hopes.      To    his    mother 
the   Rajah  had  written   in    1S41: 
"  I    trust   there    may    be    marked 
out  for  me  a  more  useful  existence, 
that  will  enable  me  to  lay  my  head 
the  rajah's  tomb.  on  my  pillow  and  say  that  I  have 

done  something  to  better  the  condition  of  my  kind,  and  to 
deserve  their  applause,"  and  again,  "  I  hope  that  thousands 
will  be  benefited  when  I  am  mouldering  in  dust,"  and  these 
hopes  have  been  fulfilled.  But  the  last  period  of  the  Rajah's 
life  was  clouded  with  sorrow,  disappointment,  and  pecuniary 
anxieties. 

He  had  practically  given  up  the  government  in   1863, 

295 


296  A    HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

though  he  reigned  for  five  years  longer,  and  could  make  his 
will  felt  when  need  be.  His  health  had  broken  down,  and 
he  wrote  on  May  29,  1863  :  "I  cannot  stand  the  climate 
and  work,"  and  in  that  year  he  left  Sarawak  for  good,  having 
installed  his  nephew,  the  Tuan  Muda,  as  administrator.  He 
was  then  only  sixty,  but  for  over  twenty  years  his  life  had 
been  full  of  anxiety,  and  had  been  a  continual  struggle  against 
adversities,  the  most  serious  caused  by  the  "  malignant  and 
persevering  persecutions  "  1  of  his  own  countrymen,  to  whom 
he  had  turned  for  a  little  sympathy  and  a  little  help,  which 
would  have  cost  England  nothing.  In  his  policy  and  his 
actions  he  had  been  guided  by  no  personal  ambition  ;  the 
great  desire  of  his  heart  had  been  throughout  the  extension 
of  British  influence  in  the  Far  East,  the  improvement  of 
trade,  the  suppression  of  piracy,  the  horrors  of  which  he  had 
witnessed,  and  the  amelioration  of  the  lot  of  the  oppressed 
and  suffering  natives,  whom  he  had  come  to  love  and  esteem 
for  their  many  good  qualities. 

With  regard  to  the  other  countries  included  in  the  general 
policy  of  the  Rajah,  this  book  has  little  to  do.  It  suffices  to 
note  that  had  that  policy  not  been  discredited,  Siam,2  the 
Sulu  archipelago,  the  whole  of  New  Guinea,  and  a  greater  part 
of  Borneo  might  now  have  been  under  British  influence.  To 
the  Rajah's  unaided  efforts,  frowned  upon  at  home,  England 
owes  it  that  Sarawak,  Bruni,  and  Labuan  are  not  now  Dutch 
Residencies,  and  North  Borneo,  through  conquest  from  the 
Spaniards,  an  American  colon}-. 

By  his  enterprise  Sarawak,  weakened  by  civil  war  and 
oppression,  was  converted  into  an  independent  and  cogent 
State,  and  became  a  check  upon  any  further  advance  of  the 
Dutch  northwards  ;  and  their  strong  diplomatic  objections 
to  the  Rajah's  presence  in  Sarawak  shows  what  they  had  in 
view.      Moreover,  the  treaty  he  effected  with   the  Sultan  of 

1  Lord  Palmerston,  Debate  in  House  of  Commons,  July  10,  1851. 

2  Sir  Spenser  St.  John  says  that,  "  ever  since  our  Mission  to  Siam  (of  which  the 
Rajah  was  the  head,  having  been  appointed  Special  Envoy  by  the  Government)  in 
1850,  Chaofa  Mungkat  (then  Prime  Minister,  but  very  shortly  afterwards  be  became 
the  King)  had  kept  up  a  private  correspondence  with  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak,  in  whose 
doings  he  showed  great  interest.''  This  King  afterwards  presented  the  Rajah  with  a 
Siani'  rge,  still  in  use,  and  a  gold  snuff-box.  We  mention  this  to  show 
the  power  of  the  Rajah's  influence,  and  to  what  good  purposes  that  influence  might 
have  ljeen  put. 


THE   END   OF  THE   FIRST   STAGE  297 

Bruni  in  1847  effectually  prevented  any  settlements  other 
than  of  an  English  character  being  established  in  northern 
Borneo. 

From  southern  Borneo  England  had  retired  in  favour 
of  the  Dutch,  and,  previous  to  this,  after  the  disaster  of 
Balambangan,  and  its  withdrawal  from  Bruni,  had  ceased 
to  take  any  further  interest  in  northern  Borneo,  nor  was  any 
attempt  made  to  re-establish  its  prestige  there,  or  to  suppress 
piracy,  even  after  Singapore  had  been  founded  in  1 8 1 9. 
As  usual,  England  had  to  wait  for  a  man  of  action  and 
resolution,  and  twenty  years  afterwards,  though,  fortunately, 
when  not  too  late,  he  appeared  in  the  person  of  the  late 
Rajah.  Such  a  man  also  was  Sir  Stamford  Raffles,  who 
saved  Singapore  and  the  Malay  peninsula  to  England.  It 
is  almost  a  parallel  case. 

The  members  of  the  East  India  Board  were  furious,  and  the 
Ministers  of  the  Crown  were  "excessively  angry."  Indeed  had  it 
not  been  for  Raffles  ...  it  is  certain  that  Singapore  would  have 
been  abandoned  by  the  British.  Raffles  made  it,  and  Raffles  saved 
it.  .  .  .  Raffles'  genius  and  patriotism  were  rewarded  by  endless 
worry,  by  the  disapproval  of  his  employers,  and  by  public  censure 
from  his  country's  Ministers.1 

But  the  Rajah  abandoned  the  larger  policy  as  hopeless, 
and  devoted  his  life  and  his  means  to  his  adopted  country  ; 
and  here  the  British  Government,  influenced  by  Gladstone, 
Cobden,  Sidney  Herbert,  and  their  Little  England  followers, 
did  its  best  to  paralyse  his  efforts. 

"My  duty  has  been  done  at  any  cost,"  he  wrote  sadly,  "and  the 
British  Government  will  be  responsible  for  the  consequences  which 
must  follow  upon  its  abandonment  of  Sarawak.  I  do  not  mention 
the  treatment  I  have  personally  received  at  its  hands,  for  I  seek  no 
favour,  nor  expect  justice,  and  I  shall  close  a  troubled  career  with 
the  conviction  that  it  might  have  been  useful  to  my  country  and 
honourable  to  myself  and  a  blessing  to  the  native  race,  but  for 
the  indifference,  the  inconstancy,  and,  I  regret  to  say,  the  injustice 
of  the  British  Government."2 

In  an  introduction  to  his  nephew  the  Tuan  Muda's  Ten 
Years  in   Sarawak,  written   in   January  1866,  he   expressed 

1  British  Malaya,  p.  71  ;   Sir  Frank  Swettenham,  K.C.M.G. 
-  Extract  from  a  letter  to  Lord  John  Russell,  dated  December  10,  1859. 


298  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

what  had  been  the  ambition  of  his  life,  and  his  disappointment 
at  its  non-fulfilment. 

I  once  had  a  day-dream  of  advancing  the  Malayan  race  by  enfor- 
cing order  and  establishing  self-government  among  them  :  and  I 
dreamed  too  that  my  native  country  would  desire  the  benefit  of 
position,  influence,  and  commerce,  without  the  responsibilities  from 
which  she  shrinks.  But  the  dream  ended  with  the  first  waking 
reality,  and  I  found  how  true  it  is,  that  nations  are  like  men,  that 
the  young  hope  more  than  they  fear,  and  the  old  fear  more  than 
they  hope — that  England  had  ceased  to  be  enterprising,  and  could 
not  look  forward  to  obtaining  great  ends  by  small  means  perseveringly 
applied,  and  that  the  dependencies  are  not  now  regarded  as  a  field 
of  outlay,  to  yield  abundant  national  returns,  but  as  a  source  of 
wasteful  expenditure  to  be  wholly  cut  off.  The  cost  ultimately  may 
verify  the  old  adage,  and  some  day  England  may  wake  from  the 
dream  of  disastrous  economy,  as  I  have  awakened  from  my  dreams 
of  extended  usefulness.  I  trust  the  consequences  may  not  be  more 
hurtful  to  her  than  they  have  been  to  me. 

Since  this,  I  have  found  happiness  in  advancing  the  happiness 
of  my  people,  who,  whatever  may  be  their  faults,  have  been  true  to 
me  and  mine  through  good  report  and  evil  report,  through  prosperity 
and  through  misfortune. 

From  the  very  commencement  of  his  career  in  Borneo  he 
had  invited  the  support  of  the  British  Government  "  to  relieve 
an  industrious  people  from  oppression,  and  to  check,  and  if 
possible,  to  suppress  piracy  and  the  slave  trade."  He  was 
anxious  to  see  a  British  Settlement  established,  under  the 
direction  of  others  if  necessary,  and  he  was  prepared  to 
transfer  his  rights  and  interests  to  any  successor.  He  looked 
upon  himself  in  the  light  of  "  an  agent  whom  fortune  had 
enabled  to  open  the  path,"  and  he  felt  "  if  a  case  of  misery 
ever  called  for  help,  it  is  here,  and  the  act  of  humanity  which 
redeems  the  Dayak  race  *  from  the  condition  of  unparalleled 
wretchedness  will  open  a  path  for  religion,  and  for  commerce, 
which  may  in  future  repay  the  charity  which  ought  to  seek 
for  no  remuneration."  His  wish  had  always  been  that  the 
country  should  be  taken  under  the  wing  of  England,  and, 
though  he  at  first  justly  asked  that  what  he  had  sunk 
into  it  of  his  own  private  fortune  should  be  repaid  him, 
he  was  finally  prepared   to  waive  this  consideration  if  only 

1  The  Land-Dayaks  of  the  Sadong,  Sarawak,  and  Lundu  rivers. 


THE   END   OF  THE   FIRST   STAGE  301 

England  would  adopt  the  struggling  little  State.  Failing 
this,  he  desired  that  the  British  Government  would  extend 
a  protectorate  over  the  State,  so  that  capitalists  should 
be  encouraged  to  invest  money  for  the  development  of 
its  resources.  But  even  recognition  of  Sarawak  as  an 
independent  State  was  not  granted  till  1863.  Protection 
was  not  accorded  till  1888,  and  then  it  was  offered,  not 
asked  for,  and  was  granted,  not  in  the  interests  of  Sarawak, 
but  for  the  safeguarding  of  Imperial  interests,  lest  some  other 
foreign  power  should  lay  its  hands  on  the  little  State. 

Recognition,  for  which  the  Rajah  had  striven  for  so  many 
years,  being  at  last  granted,  filled  him  with  the  greatest 
satisfaction.  But  considering  the  past  history  of  Sarawak, 
and  bearing  in  mind  how  well  that  country  has  since  done 
without  extraneous  aid,  it  would  seem  to  have  been  a  pity 
that  Sarawak  ever  attracted  the  attention  of  England,  and 
that  the  Rajah  ever  sought  for  encouragement  or  protection 
there.  Sarawak  has  stood  the  test  of  nearly  seventy  years 
as  an  independent  State,  and  continues  its  prosperous  career, 
without  owing  anything  to  any  one,  and  requiring  only  to  be 
let  alone.  But  financial  troubles  had  overtaken  the  State 
in  the  latter  days  of  the  Rajah,  and  to  him  these  were  an 
endless  source  of  worry  and  anxiety.  From  1863,  to  the 
time  of  his  death  in  1868,  his  letters  to  his  representative 
in  Sarawak,  the  Tuan  Muda,  were  almost  always  on  this 
subject.  To  matters  relating  to  general  policy,  there  is  in 
them  little  reference  to  be  found  ;  though  throughout  they 
express  constant  forebodings  in  regard  to  the  future  of  the 
raj.  "  Alone,  burdened  with  debts,  with  few  friends  and 
many  foes,  how  are  you  to  stand  without  support,"  he  wrote 
to  the  Tuan  Muda  ;  the  last  years  of  his  life  were  clouded 
by  a  dread  of  evils,  for  he  placed  too  much  weight  on  public 
opinion,  which  was  generally  as  erroneous  as  it  was  inimical.1 
In  1  863,  the  whole  responsibility  was  thrown  upon  the  present 
Rajah's  shoulders,  to  whom  it  was  left  to  find  a  way  to 
establish  the  revenue  on  a  sound  basis,  and  to  reduce  a  large 
debt  without  sacrificing  efficiency.  The  Government  under 
the  present  Rajah  practically  commenced  in  that  year. 

1  Mr.  Templer  to  the  Tuan  Muda,  March  1872. 


302  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

Sir  Spenser  St.  John  says,  in  his  Rajah  Brooke  : — 

"  In  the  autumn  of  1S66  he  (the  Rajah)  received  a  severe  shock. 
His  nephew,  the  Tuan  Muda,  wrote  that  he  had  sold  the  steamer 
Rainbow  to  pay  off  a  debt  due  to  their  Singapore  agent — a  debt 
incurred  through  careless  extravagance  in  carrying  out  his  many 
public  works  at  a  time  when  funds  were  scarce.  For  a  moment  it 
almost  stupefied  him,  as  this  steamer  had  not  yet  been  paid  for,'' 
and  "  Sarawak  without  a  steamer,  he  felt  assured,  would  sink  back 
into  its  old  state  of  insecurity  ;  and  therefore  another  steamer  must 
be  had.  By  great  exertion,  he  succeeded  in  raising  the  necessary 
funds,  and  purchased  a  vessel  which  was  christened  the  Royalist? 

Sir  Spenser  must  have  trusted  to  his  memory,  which 
played  him  false.  The  Sarawak  Government  had  then 
another  and  a  larger  steamer,  the  Heartsease}  and  the  Rajah 
was  having  the  Royalist'  built  in  England  to  carry  mails 
and  merchandise  to  and  from  Singapore.  He  was  consulted 
about  the  sale  of  the  Rainbow  and  sanctioned  it,  for  he  wrote 
to  the  Tuan  Muda  on  March  6,  I  865,  "We  are  quite  agreed 
as  to  the  advisability  of  selling  the  Rainbow"  the  purchase 
money  to  go  towards  paying  for  the  new  vessel  he  was 
having  built.  The  Singapore  agents  were  instructed  to 
remit  the  money  home,  but,  without  the  knowledge  of  the 
Tuan  Muda,  kept  it  to  cover  an  over-draft.  This  over-draft 
was  not  incurred  to  pay  expenses  of  public  works,  but  for 
absolute  necessaries.  The  Rajah  had  but  little  trouble  to 
raise  the  balance  due  on  the  Royalist ;  and  even  this  was 
not  necessary,  for  a  Singapore  Bank  at  once  advanced  an 
amount  equivalent  to  the  balance  due  on  the  Rainbow^  which 
was  remitted  to  England. 

At  Burrator,  his  little  out-of-the-world  Devonshire  seat, 
on  the  edge  of  the  moors,  the  Rajah  was  perfectly  happy 
so  long  as  not  troubled  with  bad  news  from  Sarawak.  He 
devoted  himself  to  the  country-side  folk,  who  were  greatly 
attached  to  him.  His  life  was  one  simple  and  contented  ; 
he  enjoyed  the  exceeding  quietude,  and  he  was  happy 
in  trying  to  make  others  happy.  Riding  and  shooting,  so 
long  as  his  health   permitted,  were  his  amusements,  parish 

1  Built  in  Singapore,  and  commissioned  in  September  1865. 
2  Launched  in  March  1867. 


THE  END   OF  THE   FIRST   STAGE  303 

affairs,  and  the  improvement  of  his  little  property,  his  chief 
interests. 

The  longing  to  return  to  his  people  was  strong  upon 
him.  But,  as  time  advanced  and  his  strength  diminished, 
he  foresaw  that  what  had  become  the  desire  of  his  life  would 
be  denied  him.  Some  three  years  before  his  death  he  wrote 
to  the  Tuan  Muda,  "  Farewell,  think  of  me  as  well  content, 
free  from  anxiety,  and  watching  your  progress  with  pride 
and  pleasure." 

Largely  assisted  by  the  late  Sir  Massey  Lopes,  who 
owned  the  land  in  the  parish,  he  "  restored "  the  Parish 
Church,  and  was  instrumental  in  a  new  school  being  provided. 
The  church  contained  a  magnificent  rood  -  screen,  richly 
carved  and  gilt,  extending  across  the  nave  and  aisle  ;  indeed 
it  was  the  finest  specimen  in  that  part  of  the  county.  Un- 
happily neither  the  Rajah  nor  Sir  Massey  could  appreciate 
its  artistic  and  antiquarian  value,  and  it  was  ruthlessly  swept 
away.  No  architect  was  employed,  only  a  local  builder,  and 
the  new  work  done  in  the  church  is  as  bad  as  can  be 
conceived,  such  as  was  likely  to  proceed  from  the  designs  of 
a  common  ignorant  builder. 

On  June  1  1,  1868,  Sir  James  Brooke  died  at  Burrator, 
leaving  the  succession  of  the  raj  to  his  nephew  Charles 
Brooke,  and  his  male  issue,  failing  such  to  his  nephew  H. 
Stuart  Johnson  and  his  male  issue.  In  default  of  such 
issue,  the  Rajah  devised  his  said  sovereignty,  "  The  rights, 
privileges,  and  power  thereto  belonging,  unto  her  Majesty 
the  Queen  of  England,  her  heirs  and  assigns  for  ever." 

He  was  buried  in  the  churchyard  at  Sheepstor,  and  a 
memorial  window  to  him  has  been  placed  in  the  church. 

Dr.  A.  Russel  Wallace,  in  The  Malay  Archipelago, 
1  869,  says  : — 

That  his  Government  still  continues  after  twenty  years,  notwith- 
standing frequent  absences  from  ill  health,  notwithstanding  conspiracies 
of  Malay  chiefs,  and  insurrections  of  Chinese  gold-diggers,  all  of 
which  have  been  overcome  by  the  support  of  the  native  population, 
and  notwithstanding  financial,  political,  and  domestic  troubles — is 
due,  I  believe,  solely  to  many  admirable  qualities  which  Sir  James 
Brooke  possessed,  and  especially  to  his  having  convinced  the  native 


304  A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

population,  by  every  action  of  his  life,  that  he  ruled  them,  not  for  his 
own  advantage,  but  for  their  good. 

Since  these  lines  were  written,  his  noble  spirit  has  passed  away. 
But,  though  by  those  who  knew  him  not,  he  may  be  sneered  at  as 
an  enthusiast,  adventurer,  or  abused  as  a  hard-headed  despot,  the 
universal  testimony  of  every  one  who  came  in  contact  with  him  in 
his  adopted  country,  whether  European,  Malay,  or  Dayak,  will  be 
that  Rajah  Brooke  was  a  great,  a  wise,  and  a  good  ruler— a  true 
and  faithful  friend,  a  man  to  be  admired  for  his  talents,  respected 
for  his  honour  and  courage,  and  loved  for  his  genuine  hospitality, 
his  kindness  of  disposition,  and  his  tenderness  of  heart. 

Writing  in  I  866,  the  old  Rajah  said  of  his  nephew  : — 

He  is  looked  up  to  in  that  country  (Sarawak)  as  the  chief  of  all 
the  Sea-Dayaks,  and  his  intimate  knowledge  of  their  language,  their 
customs,  their  feelings,  and  their  habits  far  exceed  that  of  any  other 
person.  His  task  has  been  successfully  accomplished  of  stamping 
out  the  last  efforts  of  piratical  Malayan  chiefs,  and  their  supporters 
among  the  Dayaks  of  Saribas,  and  of  other  countries.  He  first 
gained  over  a  portion  of  these  Dayaks  to  the  cause  of  order,  and 
then  used  them  as  his  instruments  in  the  same  cause,  to  restrain 
their  countrymen.  The  result  is  that  the  coast  of  Sarawak  is  as 
safe  to  the  trader  as  the  coast  of  England,  and  that  an  unarmed  man 
could  traverse  the  country  without  let  or  hindrance.  It  is  a  great 
gratification  to  me  to  acknowledge  my  nephew's  devotion  to  the 
cause  to  which  my  own  life  has  been  devoted.  It  is  well  that  his 
strength  has  come  to  supply  my  weakness,  and  that  his  energies  and 
his  fife  (if  needed)  should  be  given  to  establish  the  governorship, 
and  promote  the  happiness  of  the  people  of  Sarawak.  My  career 
draws  to  its  close,  but  I  have  confidence  that  no  consideration  will 
turn  him  from  the  work  which  I  shall  leave  for  his  hand  to  do. 

How  deserved  this  trust  was,  has  been  made  manifest 
by  the  present  Rajah's  own  lifelong  devotion  to  the  interests 
of  the  people  he  was  ordained  to  govern.  On  his  accession, 
no  change  was  made  in  the  wise  and  liberal  policy  of  his 
predecessor.  Only  such  reforms  and  improvements,  adminis- 
trative or  otherwise,  consistent  with  that  policy  have  been 
made.  Up  to  the  time  of  the  first  Rajah's  death,  no  great 
progress  commercially  and  financially  had  been  effected, 
and  it  was  left  to  his  successor  to  promote  the  commercial 
and  industrial  advancement  of  the  State.  The  Sea-Dayaks 
and  tribes  of  the  interior  still  required  a  strong  hand  and  a 
watchful    eye    to  keep   them   in   order,   and    the  subsequent 


THE   END   OF  THE   FIRST   STAGE  305 

large  additions  of  territory  entailed  greater  responsibility  and 
harder  work. 

In  the  gradual  establishment  of  a  government  suitable 
to  the  country  and  its  people,  the  main  principles  that  have 
guided  the  late  and  the  present  Rajah  are  —  that  the 
natives  should,  through  their  chiefs,  have  a  full  though 
subordinate  share  in  its  administration  and  its  councils  ; 
that  their  own  laws  and  customs  should  be  respected, 
though  modified  where  necessary  in  accordance  with  the  first 
principles  of  justice  and  humanity.  That  no  sudden  and 
wholesale  changes  disquieting  to  the  native  mind  should  be 
made,  and  that  reforms  should  be  very  carefully  considered 
from  both  the  white  man's  and  the  native's  point  of  view 
before  being  introduced,  and  that  if  carried  out,  it  should  be 
done  gradually.  Thus,  without  giving  rise  to  any  opposition 
or  discontent,  slavery,  which  was  at  one  time  in  a  cruel  and 
oppressive  form,  by  a  gradual  process  of  ameliorating  the 
condition  of  the  slaves,  enlarging  their  privileges,  reducing 
the  powers  of  owners  and  increasing  their  responsibilities, 
in  course  of  time  ceased  to  be  a  profitable  institution,  and 
died  a  natural  death  without  any  sudden  and  violent 
legislation. 

How  that  was  done  will  be  shown  in  the  following 
chapter. 

Among  the  Spartans  a  drunken  helot  was  produced, 
staggering  and  imbecile,  to  show  the  young  into  what  a 
disgraceful  condition  a  man  fell  who  gave  way  to  liquor. 
And  in  Borneo,  in  the  Sultanate  of  Bruni,  the  people  had 
before  their  eyes  a  reminder  of  what  was  a  bad,  irresponsible 
government. 

The  old  Rajah  left  behind  him  one  of  the  noblest  records 
of  a  life  devoted  to  the  cause  of  humanity,  and  of  a  task 
completed,  which  has  been  equalled  by  few  men.  His 
motives,  untarnished  by  any  desire  for  honours  or  for  worldly 
advancement,  were  as  pure  as  was  his  chivalry,  which  was 
without  reproach.  No  better  man,  and  few  greater,  have 
lived. 

That  those  who  vainly  sought  by  the  degradation  of  his 
position    to   enrich    themselves    should    have   turned    round 

x 


306  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

upon  him,  and  have  vilified  a  character  whose  humane  and 
lofty  views  were  foreign  to  their  own,  is  not  so  surprising  as 
that  ministers  and  politicians  of  the  highest  repute  should 
have  lent  ready  ears  to  their  libellous  and  unfounded  state- 
ments, and  have  treated  with  a  total  absence  of  a  spirit 
of  fair  play  a  man  whose  policy  and  methods  merited  their 
fullest  recognition  and  support. 

Ergo  Quintilium  perpetuus  sopor 
Urguet?  cui  Pudor,  et  Iustitiae  soror, 
Incorrupta  Fides,  nudaque  Veritas 
Quando  ullum  inveniet  parem  ? 

Horace,  Od.  i.  24. 


FORT    MARGHERITA,     KUCHING. 

CHAPTER    XII 

THE    BEGINNING    OF    THE    SECOND    STAGE 
1868-1870 


■•■ 

■•1 
■■1 

■■■ 


BERROW    VICARAGE. 


HARLES 
BROOKE 

was  pro- 
claimed 
Rajah     on 

August  3,  1868,  throughout  the  territory.  The  ceremony  in 
the  capital  and  at  the  out-stations  was  simple.  The  people 
were  assembled,  the  proclamation  read,  and  the  Rajah's  flag 
saluted.  He  did  not  then  take  the  oath,  but  this  was  ad- 
ministered at  the  next  meeting  of  the  General  Council,  on 
October  11,  1870,  when  the  Rajah  solemnly  bound  himself 
to  respect  the  religion,  rights,  privileges,  and  institutions  of 
the   people ;    that    no    laws   or    customary    laws    would    be 

307 


308  A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

changed  or  modified  without  the  sanction  of  the  chiefs 
assembled  in  Council,  that  he  would  uphold  the  late  Rajah's 
will  in  respect  to  the  succession  to  the  raj,  that  the  people 
should  have  a  voice  in  the  selection  of  their  chiefs,  and 
that  all  cases  arising  amongst  Muhammadans  in  respect  to 
marriage,  divorce,  and  inheritance  should  be  settled  by  the 
Malay  chiefs  in  accordance  with  Muhammadan  law.  At 
this  meeting  of  the  Council  the  English  and  native  members 
took  the  oaths  to  endeavour  to  the  best  of  their  abilities  to 
advise  truthfully  and  justly  for  the  good  of  the  country,  and 
to  uphold  the  authority  of  the  Rajah.  This  oath  is  ad- 
ministered to  every  new  member  upon  appointment. 

As  has  been  mentioned,  the  Rajah  had  already  been 
ruling  the  State  for  five  years  previous  to  his  accession,  and, 
though  troubled  with  a  few  internal  disorders  among  the 
Dayaks  in  the  far  interior,  the  general  peaceful  state  of  the 
country,  which  he  had  done  so  much  to  bring  about,  left 
him  free  to  devote  more  of  his  time  and  attention  to  many 
needed  improvements  in  the  administration,  and  reforms  in 
certain  customary  laws,  which  could  only  be  effected  as  time 
smoothed  out  party  feelings,  racial  jealousies  and  distrust, 
and  all  had  settled  down  tranquilly  under  a  government 
acceptable  to  the  whole  population,  and  which  all  were  willing 
to  uphold.  How  the  Rajah  succeeded  as  a  wise  and  tactful 
administrator,  the  sure  and  steady  advance  of  the  country, 
its  revenue  and  trade  sufficiently  testify.  Not  only  has  this 
been  fully  acknowledged  by  outside  witnesses  in  a  position 
to  judge,  but,  what  he  values  more,  has  won  the  approbation 
and  confidence  of  his  people. 

Xo  one  was  in  a  better  position  to  bear  testimony  to 
this  than  the  old  Datu  Bandar,  Haji  Bua  Hasan,  who,  in 
spite  of  evil  report  and  good  report,  won  the  respect  of  all 
classes.  As  already  mentioned,  he  was  a  son  of  the  gallant 
Patinggi  Ali,  and  was  appointed  Imaum  when  Ilaji  Gapur 
was  degraded,  and  shortly  afterwards  was  raised  to  the  rank 
of  Datu.  He  held  his  rank  and  office  for  over  sixty  year-, 
and  became  the  trusted  friend  of  both  Rajahs  and  of  all 
his  "  English  brethren."  This  is  the  simple  testimony  lie 
bore    on    the    opening  of  the   new   Court-house   and    public 


THE  BEGINNING  OF  THE  SECOND   STAGE   309 

offices  during  the  absence  of  the  Rajah  in  England,  acting 
as  he  did  as  spokesman  for  his  countrymen,  and  in  the 
presence  of  man)'  hundreds  of  them. 

English  brethren,  datus,  and  people  all  at  present  within  the 
Court.  I  am  happy  in  being  here  in  company  with  you  to  hail 
the  anniversary  of  the  Rajah's  birthday,  and  to  join  with  you  in 
opening  this  our  new  Court-house. 

I  am  here  to  bear  testimony  to  the  fostering  care  which  the 
Rajah  has  ever  taken  of  his  children  ;  we,  who  in  years  gone  by 
were  not  only  poor,  but  sunk  under  oppression,  and  heaviness  of 
heart,  by  his  assistance  have  become  rich,  and  our  hearts  have 
waxed  light  within  us  under  the  blessing  of  freedom. 

The  Rajah  is  but  following  out  the  good  work  begun  by  his 
uncle  in  our  regard  many  years  ago. 

The  Rajah,  in  succeeding  his  uncle,  has  not  attempted  to 
suppress,  to  interfere  with,  or  to  decry  our  religion,  therefore  I  say 
to  you  all,  follow  that  religion  truly  and  adhere  to  its  teachings. 
Whoever  there  be  who  shall  forget  what  the  Rajah  has  achieved  for 
him  and  his,  that  man  is  not  worthy  to  be  accounted  a  friend  of 
the  Government,  but  shall  be  looked  upon  as  an  enemy,  and 
whoever  becomes  an  enemy  of  the  constituted  Government  is  an 
offender  also  against  the  faith. 

How  is  it  possible  for  any  of  us,  remembering  all  that  the 
Rajah  has  done  for  our  advancement,  to  go  against  him,  or  in  any 
way  to  oppose  him.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  our  duty — the  duty  of 
all  of  us  who  subsist  under  the  Government — to  praise  the  Rajah, 
to  pray  for  long  life  for  him  and  his,  and  beyond  this  to  ask  that 
he  may  be  blessed  with  fortune  in  his  reign,  so  that  we  may  long 
live  happy,  as  we  are  now,  under  him. 

It  will  be  advisable  here  to  give  some  account  of  the 
manner  in  which  Sarawak  has  been  and  is  still  governed,  in 
regard  to  which  Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  who  was  out  in 
Borneo,  either  in  Sarawak  or  Bruni,  for  thirteen  years,  wrote 
in   1  899  : 

The  Government  is  a  kind  of  mild  despotism,  the  only  govern- 
ment suitable  to  Asiatics,  who  look  to  their  chief  as  the  sole 
depositary  of  supreme  power.  The  influence  of  the  old  Rajah  still 
pervades  the  whole  system,  and  natives  and  Europeans  work 
together  in  perfect  harmony.1 

For  administrative  purposes  the  country  is  divided  into 
four  Divisions,  with  a  Resident  of  the  1st  Class,  or  Divisional 

1  Rajah  Brooke. 


3io  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Resident,  in  charge  of  each,  but  of  late  years  it  has  been 
necessary  to  appoint  only  Divisional  Residents  to  the  ist 
Division,  the  smallest  in  area,  but  the  most  important,  as 
containing  the  capital  ;  and  to  the  3rd  Division,  which 
extending  from  Kalaka  to  Kedurong  Point,  takes  in  about 
half  the  State,  and  contains  about  half  the  population.  The 
Divisions  are  divided  into  Residencies,  under  charge  of 
Residents  of  the  2nd  Class,  with  Assistant  Residents,  and 
junior  officers  under  them,  all  under  the  supervision  of  the 
Divisional  Residents. 

In  Kuching  the  Divisional  Resident  is  assisted  by  a 
Resident  of  the  2nd  Class,  and  the  executive  work  is  under 
the  control  of  the  usual  departments,  directed  by  the 
Treasurer,  Commandant,  Commissioner  of  Public  Works, 
Postmaster-General,  Magistrate  Court  of  Requests,  Superin- 
tendent of  Police,  principal  and  junior  Medical  Officers, 
Superintendent  of  Surveys,  and  Engineer  in  chief,  with 
English,  Eurasians,  Chinese,  and  native  assistants.  The 
Rajah  is  the  supreme  judge,  and  the  other  judges  of  the 
Supreme  Court  are  the  Divisional  Residents,  the  Datu 
Bandar,  the  Datu  Hakim,  and  the  Datu  Imaum.  These 
also  form  the  Supreme  Council,  with  his  Highness  as 
President.  The  Supreme  Council,  which  was  instituted  by 
the  first  Rajah,  acting  on  the  advice  of  Earl  Grey,  October 
17,  1855,  meets  once  a  month  for  the  consideration  of  all 
important  matters  in  connection  with  the  welfare  and 
administration  of  the  State.  It  is  an  established  rule  that 
in  this  Council  the  European  members  shall  not  outnumber 
the  native  members. 

In  addition  to  the  Supreme  Council  is  the  General 
Council,  or  Council  Negri  (State  Council),  which  was 
instituted  by  the  present  Rajah  in  April,  1865,  to 
consolidate  the  Government  by  giving  the  native  chiefs 
more  than  local  interest  in  the  affairs  of  the  State  ;  to 
impress  them  with  a  sense  of  responsibility  ;  to  establish 
an  uniformity  of  customs  ;  and  to  promote  a  good  feeling 
amongst  them,  and  confidence  in  each  other.  Before  the 
Council  was  inaugurated  the  chiefs  seldom  met  one  another, 
and  were  almost  strangers  except  in   name.      Those  in   the 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE  SECOND  STAGE   311 

provinces  rarely  visited  the  capital  ;  they  knew  little  about, 
and  took  but  a  slight  interest  in  public  concerns  not  directly 
affecting  their  own  districts.  The  members  of  this  Council 
also  form  local,  or  Residency,  Councils  in  their  respective 
districts,  with  the  several  Residents  as  vice-presidents. 

This  General  Council  includes  the  above  members  of  the 
Supreme  Council,  the  Residents  of  the  2nd  Class,  Treasurer, 
Commandant,  principal  Medical  Officer,  and  the  leading 
Malay,  Dayak,  and  Kayan  governing  chiefs,  as  well  as  the 
chiefs  of  other  tribes,  who  have  proved  deserving  of  being 
appointed  members.  It  meets  once  every  three  years,  and 
at  the  last  meeting,  in  1906,  there  were  present  thirteen 
(absent  five)  Europeans  and  thirty-six  native  members. 
To  quote  from  his  Highness'  speech  made  at  that  meeting  : 

The  General  Council  was  organised  for  the  purpose  of  settling 
any  serious  question  or  dispute  relating  to  the  welfare  of  the  country 
whenever  such  questions  should  arise,  .  .  .  and  he  thought  it  was 
always  a  good  thing  that  they  should  at  least  once  in  three  years 
meet  each  other,  exchange  thoughts  and  views,  and  renew 
acquaintanceship. 

Although  it  is  the  rule  that  the  Council  should  meet  at 
least  once  in  every  three  years,  it  is  liable  to  be  convened  at 
any  time  should  any  emergency  arise,  and  this  has  been 
done  upon  more  than  one  occasion. 

Thus  one  was  summoned  in  June,  1867,1  to  meet  at 
Sibu,  to  discuss  and  decide  upon  the  course  to  be  pursued 
to  ensure  protection  for  the  lives  and  property  of  Sarawak 
subjects  trading  in  Bruni  territory.  A  letter  was  drawn  up 
by  the  Rajah  in  Council  to  the  Sultan,  laying  the  facts 
before  him,  and  asking  for  justice  and  protection.  This 
drew  from  him  the  rude  retort  that  "  the  Rajah  he  knew, 
but  the  members  of  the  Council  he  presumed  were  only  his 
coolies." 

Nor  was  this  all.  When  the  Rajah's  principal  Resident, 
with  some  of  the  leading  members  of  the  Council,  visited 
Bruni,  the  Sultan  refused  to  allow  the  latter  into  his 
presence,  but  relegated  them  to  an  outer  chamber  with 
persons  of  low  rank. 

1  This  was  the  first  meeting  of  the  Council. 


312  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Hitherto  the  Sarawak  chiefs  of  all  ranks  and  races  had 
entertained  a  lingering  sympathy  and  respect  for  the  "  Iang 
de  Pertuan "  (He  that  rules),  the  Sultan's  more  correct 
title,  but  these  insults  completely  alienated  their  regard. 

The  details  of  administration  in  the  out-stations  are 
many  and  diversified,  and  in  some  of  the  districts  entail  a 
considerable  amount  of  travelling.  The  Resident  is  the 
chief  judicial  officer  in  his  district.  He  is  responsible  for 
the  proper  collection  of  the  revenue  and  for  the  expenditure. 
The  public  works,  the  police,  in  fact  the  general  conduct 
of  affairs  throughout  his  district,  are  under  his  supervision, 
and  he  has  to  be  continually  visiting  the  outlying  villages. 
Usually  there  is  an  Assistant  Resident  and  one  or  more 
junior  officers  to  assist  him.  Besides  his  usual  routine 
work,  he  must  at  all  times  be  accessible  to  natives  of  all 
races  and  of  all  degrees.  Though  irksome  at  times,  this 
duty  is  one  of  considerable  importance.  Some  come  to 
complain  against  decisions  of  their  chiefs  ;  some  for  advice 
and  assistance  ;  and  some  seek  an  interview  under  a  trivial 
pretext,  behind  which,  however,  may  be  important  news, 
which  the)'  would  hesitate  to  deliver  before  others.  The 
natives  are  the  eyes  and  ears  of  a  Resident,  and  through 
them  alone  can  he  derive  early  intelligence  of  the  doings 
and  intentions  of  his  people.  And  not  a  less  important 
duty  is  to  become  thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  people 
under  his  care,  to  keep  in  close  personal  touch  with  them, 
and  to  become  conversant  with  their  customs  and  ideas,  for 
the  law  he  administers  must  be  made  more  or  less  consonant 
with  these.  Customs  inconsistent  with  justice  and  common 
sense  have  long  since  been  discarded  for  more  enlightened 
rules,  but  those  conformable  to  these  principles,  and  suitable 
to  the  conditions  of  the  people,  have  become  recognised 
customary  laws,  and  these  vary  among  the  different  races. 

For  the  settlement  of  divorce  and  probate  cases  among 
the  Muhammadans,  Courts  have  been  established  throughout 
the  State.  In  Kuching  the  Court  is  presided  over  by  the 
datus,  those  in  the  out-stations  by  the  Malay  Government 
chiefs,  who  also  sit  as  magistrates  in  the  Residency  Courts. 
Such  cases    are    settled    in   accordance  with    Muhammadan 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE    313 

law,  modified  as  the  Supreme  Council  may  see  fit,  and 
subject  to  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court. 

Beside  the  permanent  and  salaried  native  officers,  every 
Malay  and  Melanau  village  has  its  tuah,1  or  chief,  who  is 
elected  by  the  people,  and,  if  the  selection  is  approved  by 
the  Government,  he  receives  a  commission  from  the  Rajah, 
appointing  him  chief  for  a  term  of  three  years.  These 
tuahs  are  responsible  for  the  collection  of  dues  and  taxes, 
and  have  power  as  sub-magistrates  to  settle  small  cases. 
As  a  rule  they  are  remunerated  by  commissions,  though 
some  receive  salaries. 

The  Sea-Dayaks,  Kayans,  and  Kenyans  have  district- 
chiefs,  as  already  stated,  called  pengulus,  who  are  appointed 
by  the  Government  ;  and  each  house  or  village  has  its 
recognised  sub-chief.  The  powers  and  duties  of  the 
pengulus  are  similiar  to  those  of  the  Malay  tuahs,  and 
they  are  similarly  remunerated. 

In  1872,  certain  criticisms  upon  the  administration 
drew  forth  a  rejoinder  which  appeared  in  the  Sarawak 
Gazette  of  September  2,  and  as  it  so  clearly  lays  down 
the  Rajah's  opinions  and  his  policy  we  give  it  in  full  : 

It  is  easy  enough  to  find  weak  places  in  any  system,  and  to 
give  it  credit  on  the  whole  for  less  than  it  deserves,  because  we 
disapprove  of  it  in  part.  It  is  as  easy,  especially  if  one  has  played 
an  important  part  in  it  oneself,  to  over-estimate  its  benefits.  But 
in  a  semi-barbarous  country,  governed  in  conjunction  with  the  old 
native  authorities  by  a  knot  of  foreigners,  who  are  in  advance  of 
those  they  govern  in  knowledge  and  experience,  it  is  hardest  of  all 
to  judge  impartially  what  has  been  done  or  is  in  progress.  There 
are  two  widely  different  principles  on  which  such  a  country  can 
be  judged  ;  we  will  call  them  the  Native  and  the  European  principle 
respectively.  The  first  regards  the  old  condition  of  things. 
established  by  custom  and  the  character  of  race,  as  essentially 
natural,  and  is  more  or  less  adverse  from  changes,  however  slight, 
in  what  has  these  important  sanctions.  The  second  places  the 
standard  of  Western  civilisation  before  it,  and  is  apt  to  judge  rather 
harshly  whatever  falls  far  short  of  this,  or  is  not,  at  least,  in  a  fair 
way  towards  attaining  it. 

The  common  mistake  Europeans  make  in  the  East  is  to  exalt 
the  latter  of  these  principles  almost   to  the  exclusion  of  the  other, 

1   Literally,  an  elder. 


3U  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

instead  of  using  them  as  mutually  corrective.  And  this  mistake 
has  its  origin,  not  in  reasoning  or  in  justice,  but  in  the  imperious 
spirit  which  makes  white  men  in  the  East  believe  themselves  lords 
of  creation,  and  their  darker  brethren  kindly  provided  in  more  or 
less  abundance  for  their  profit  and  advantage.  At  any  rate  no 
man  in  his  senses  can  expect  a  wilderness  of  barbarism  to  blossom 
like  a  rose  in  a  day,  or  a  perfect  government  to  appear  full  grown 
at  once  :  while  it  is  as  unjust  to  put  the  traditions  of  the  natives 
and  their  social  position  out  of  the  question  and  consult  European 
notions  only,  as  it  is  debasing  to  lower  ourselves  to  the  level  of 
native  ignorance  and  stolidity. 

In  accordance  with  these  two  principles,  there  are  two  ways  in 
which  a  government  can  act.  The  first  is  to  start  from  things  as 
we  find  them,  putting  its  veto  on  what  is  dangerous  or  unjust,  and 
supporting  what  is  fair  and  equitable  in  the  usages  of  the  natives, 
and  letting  system  and  legislation  wait  upon  occasion.  When  new 
wants  are  felt  it  examines  and  provides  for  them  by  measures 
rather  made  on  the  spot  than  imported  from  abroad ;  and,  to 
ensure  that  these  shall  not  be  contrary  to  native  customs,  the 
consent  of  the  people  is  gained  for  them  before  they  are  put  in 
force. 

The  white  man's  so-called  privilege  of  class  is  made  little  of, 
and  the  rules  of  government  are  framed  with  greater  care  for  the 
interests  of  the  majority  who  are  not  Europeans  than  for  those  of 
the  minority  of  superior  race.  Progress  in  this  way  is  usually  slow, 
and  the  system  is  not  altogether  popular  from  our  point  of  view  ; 
but  it  is  both  quiet  and  steady  :  confidence  is  increased  ;  and  no 
vision  of  a  foreign  yoke  to  be  laid  heavily  on  their  shoulders,  when 
the  opportunity  offers,  is  present  to  the  native  mind. 

The  other  plan  is  to  make  here  and  there  a  clean  sweep  and 
introduce  something  that  Europeans  like  better,  in  the  gap.  A 
criminal  code  of  the  latest  type,  polished  and  revised  by  the  wise 
men  at  home,  or  a  system  of  taxation  and  police  introduced  boldly 
from  the  West  is  imposed,  with  a  full  assurance  of  its  intrinsic 
excellence,  but  with  too  little  thought  of  how  far  it  is  likely  to  suit 
the  circumstances  it  has  to  meet. 

We  care  not  to  set  the  two  principles  in  stronger  contrast,  or 
apply  either  to  the  policy  which  prevails  here,  only  when  men  set 
themselves  to  be  critics  their  first  business  is  to  rate  themselves  at 
their  proper  level  in  the  community,  and  remember  that  their  own 
interest  is  not  all  that  has  to  be  considered. 

The  policy  of  ingrafting  western  methods  on  eastern 
customs  by  a  gradual  and  gentle  process  has  been  attended 
not  only  with   marked   success  but  with   appreciation   by  the 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE   315 

natives  themselves.  It  has  been  the  means  by  which  old 
prejudices  have  been  broken  down,  and  reforms  in  laws  and 
administration  have  step  by  step,  and  without  friction  or 
difficulty,  been  substituted  for  unjust  and  debasing  customs. 
By  preserving  old  customs  good  in  themselves,  modifying 
these  where  necessary,  avoiding  sudden  and  drastic  changes, 
and,  above  all,  by  acting  in  conjunction  with  the  native 
chiefs  and  in  sympathy  with  their  ideas,  a  faith  in  the 
integrity  of  the  purpose  of  their  white  Ruler  has  been 
instilled  into  the  minds  of  the  people,  and  a  feeling  that 
whatever  change  he  may  advise  will  be  primarily  for  their 
benefit. 

I  do  not  exaggerate,  the  Rajah  wrote  in  1870,  when  I  say 
our  chief  success  has  been  owing  to  the  good  feeling  existing 
between  the  Ruler  and  people,  brought  about  by  there  being  no 
impediments  between  them  ;  and  that  the  non-success  of  European 
governments  generally  in  ruling  Asiatics  is  caused  by  the  want  of 
sympathy  and  knowledge  between  the  Rulers  and  the  ruled,  the  reason 
being  the  distance  and  unapproachableness  of  the  Leader.  If  I 
were  to  exclude  myself  from  Court  I  must  necessarily  withdraw 
myself  from  hearing  the  complaints,  either  serious  or  petty,  of  my 
people,  who  would  then  be  justified  in  drawing  an  unsatisfactory 
and  unhappy  comparison  between  myself  and  my  uncle,  who  was 
de  facto  the  slave  of  the  people,  and  left  the  country  under  my 
charge  expecting  me  to  carry  out  his  policy. 

Changes  in  laws  and  customs,  which  a  few  decades  back 
would  have  been  viewed  with  sullen  distrust,  are  now  readily 
accepted  by  the  Malay  chiefs,  even  those  affecting  their  own 
strict  religious  laws.  These  as  enacted  by  Muhammad 
were  adjusted  to  meet  the  requirements  of  the  past,  but  the 
Malay  chiefs  have  so  far  advanced  in  their  ideas  that  they  are 
ready  to  admit  that  some  of  these  laws  may  no  longer  be  in 
accordance  with  present  conditions.  So  by  an  Act  passed 
in  the  Supreme  Council  an  important  rule  contained  in 
that  code  regulating  the  succession  to  property  was  modified 
as  being  opposed  to  modern  ideas  of  fairness. 

Before  his  accession,  the  Rajah  had  thoroughly  gone 
into  the  question  of  slavery ;  in  this  matter  he  invited 
the  opinions  of  all,  and  on  his  accession  he  was  enabled  to 
promulgate  certain  laws  affecting  the  slaves,  that  met  with 


3i6  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

general  approval.  By  these  laws,  the  slave  was  protected 
against  ill-usage.  He  was  granted  civil  rights,  and  the 
privilege  of  freeing  himself  by  the  payment  of  a  small 
amount,  the  maximum  price  being  fixed  at  about  £~,  an 
amount  which  could  easily  be  earned  by  a  few  months' 
hard  work.  The  transfer  of  slaves  from  one  master  to 
another  could  be  made  only  in,  and  with  the  consent  of 
the  Courts.  No  slaves  could  be  sold  out  of  the  country,  and 
no  fresh  slaves  might  be  imported.  To  quote  the  Sarawak 
Gazette  of  December  12,  1872  : 

Before  the  arrival  of  Sir  James  Brooke,  the  Illanuns  and  other 
pirates  from  North  Borneo  took  yearly  trips  around  the  island, 
making  midnight  attacks  on  peaceful  villages,  killing  old  men  and 
children,  separating  mother  and  child,  husband  and  wife,  and 
carrying  away  hundreds  of  miserable  wretches  to  be  sold  into 
slavery  in  the  Sulu  archipelago. 

In  Sarawak  territory,  Kayans  and  Melanaus  sacrificed  slaves 
to  propitiate  evil  spirits.  To  ensure  good  luck  to  a  chiefs  new 
house,  the  first  post  was  driven  through  the  body  of  a  young 
virgin.  When  they  were  afflicted  with  epidemics,  it  was  the 
custom  to  sacrifice  a  young  girl  by  placing  her  in  a  canoe,  and 
allowing  her  to  drift  out  to  sea  with  the  ebb  tide.  At  the  death  of 
a  chief,  slaves  were  tied  to  posts  near  the  coffin  of  the  deceased 
and  starved  to  death,  in  order  that  they  might  be  ready  to  act  as 
attendants  on  their  master  in  another  world.1 

These  and  a  host  of  other  atrocities  were  formerly  enacted 
here.  Amongst  the  Malays  was  found  slavery  of  a  milder  form. 
Masters  and  slaves  were,  as  a  rule,  on  amicable  terms,  and  the  latter 
were  well  treated.  Where,  however,  there  was  no  law,  and 
masters  held  absolute  power  over  their  slaves,-  ill-usage 
occasionally  followed  as  a  consequence ;  and  we  could  fill  pages 
with  stories  of  cruelties  practised  by  Malay  slave-holders  in  olden 
days. 

Now  on  our  coast  piracy  is  a  thing  of  the  past.  Inland,  the 
barbarities  we  have  described  are  no  longer  practised  by  wild  and 
superstitious  tribes  ;  and  although  slavery  is  tolerated  amongst  the 
Malays,  it  is  in  such  a  mild  form  that  the  word  is  a  misnomer. 

The  Government  protects  the  bondman  against  cruelty  and 
ill-usage,  and  acknowledges  his  legal  rights.  He  can  now  obtain 
justice  in  the  Courts,  and  by  a  wise  regulation  of  the  Government 

'   The   poor  creatures    lx;ing    solemnly    admonished    to    attend   well    upon   their 

■  5  in  the  next  world. 
-  They  1 1« -1<  i  tin-  power  of  life  and  death  over  their  slaves. 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE   317 

he  can  purchase  his  freedom  at  a  fixed  moderate  price,  so  that  should 
he  find  his  bondage  irksome,  he  has  an  opportunity  of  freeing  himself 
by  energy  and  hard  work. 

The  result  is  that  the  number  of  slaves  in  the  territory  is 
steadily  decreasing.  Some  of  the  Malays  have  been  known  to 
emancipate  their  slaves  at  their  death.  Those  who  are  now 
nominally  slaves  are  treated  so  well  by  their  masters  that  they  are 
probably  happier  and  better  off  than  they  would  be  as  free 
men. 

One  great  cause  for  the  reduction  in  the  number  of 
slaves  was  that,  knowing  their  masters  no  longer  had 
power  to  drive  them,  and  were  bound  to  support  them, 
whether  they  worked  or  not,  they  became  lazy  and 
unprofitable  to  their  owners,  who  eventually  found  paid 
labour  to  be  far  cheaper,  and  were  only  too  glad  to  be  rid 
of  them. 

These  regulations  gave  the  death-blow  to  slavery.  It 
now  practically  remained  to  the  slaves  themselves  to 
choose  whether  they  should  change  their  condition  or  not ; 
for  energy  on  the  part  of  a  slave  would  enable  him  to 
procure  the  price  of  his  freedom,  as  well  as  that  of  his  wife 
and  children,  and  that  could  no  longer  be  arbitrarily  fixed 
or  refused  by  his  owner  ;  or  by  contracting  his  labour  he 
could  obtain  an  advance  for  this  purpose.  By  degrees 
many  availed  themselves  of  this  advantage,  though  others 
preferred  to  remain  in  a  state  of  dependency.  They  were 
well  provided  for,  there  was  no  necessity  to  work  too  hard, 
and  proper  treatment  was  secured  to  them.  Thus  it  came 
to  pass  that  many  owners  lost  their  diligent  slaves,  and  were 
left  with  the  lazy  and  useless  ones,  who  became  an 
expensive  nuisance.  Their  wives  and  children,  however, 
remained  slaves,  as  did  those  of  men  too  infirm  to  work,  but 
of  these,  too,  boys  freed  themselves  as  they  grew  up,  and 
girls  by  contracting  marriages  with  freemen,  and  these  could 
free  their  parents.  But  the  Rajah  was  desirous  of  abolishing 
an  institution  that,  though  it  was  becoming  one  in  name 
only,  still  remained  a  blot  upon  the  country,  and  in  this  he 
had  the  support  of  the  Malay  chiefs,  which  many  showed 
in  a  practical  manner  by  publicly  and  unconditionally 
manumitting  all   their   slaves.      Having  before  prepared  the 


3 IS  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

minds  of  the  people  for  the  great  social  change  he  wished 
to  effect  by  bringing  before  the  members  of  the  General 
Council  a  proposal  to  abolish  slavery,  in  1883  he  brought 
forward  a  bill  for  the  gradual  manumission  of  the  slaves 
during  the  next  five  years,  and  for  the  abolition  of  slavery 
at  the  end  of  that  period.  But  it  became  unnecessary  to 
proceed  to  an  enactment,  for  in  1886  domestic  slavery  had 
practically  become  a  thing  of  the  past,  and  at  a  meeting  of 
the  Council  in  that  year  the  Rajah  withdrew  the  bill. 

As  to  the  relations  with  Bruni,  we  shall  deal  with  them 
in  a  special  chapter.  These  relations,  and  those  with  the 
Netherlands  Government,  comprise  the  whole  of  Sarawak 
foreign  policy,  and  the  latter  have  of  late  years  been 
conducted  in  a  friendly  spirit  of  co-operation  in  the  mutual 
interests  of  the  two  countries,  without  undue  and  restrictive 
formality  and  red-tapeism  —  a  marked  contrast  to  the 
relations  with  Singapore,  which  has  ever  been  jealous  of 
Sarawak. 

The  relations  with  the  Dutch  had  not,  however,  always 
been  friendly,  for  on  two  occasions  they  had  seized  Sarawak 
trading  prahus  on  the  idle  pretext  of  these  being  pirates. 
The  second  time  was  as  late  as  1865,  and  then  two 
Sarawak  and  a  Bruni  prahu  were  seized  in  company  by  a 
Dutch  gun  -  boat  and  towed  into  Sinkawang,  where  their 
crew  were  placed  in  prison  in  irons,  and  the  vessels  and 
cargoes  confiscated.  This  drew  a  strong  protest  from  the 
Sarawak  Government,  and  after  some  detention  vessels  and 
crews  were  released,  but  without  considerable  portions  of 
their  cargoes.  Heavy  damages  were  claimed,  but  never  paid, 
though  the  seizure  was  admitted  to  be  wrongful. 

This  was  a  poor  return  for  the  relief  Sarawak  had 
afforded  the  Dutch  coast,  both  from  the  ravages  of  the 
Dayaks  of  Saribas  and  Sekrang,  and  the  pirates  from  the 
north.  Before  the  action  off  Bintulu  in  1862,  the  Dutch 
had  been  unable  effectually  to  protect  their  own  coasts,  the 
many  captives  from  Dutch  Borneo  then  rescued  being  a 
sufficient  proof  of  this,  but  after  that  action  the  pirates  did 
not  venture  to  pass  Sarawak  again,  and  the  north-western 
and    western    coasts    were    freed    from     their    visits.       The 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE   319 

action  of  the  Dutch  in  seizing  these  prahus  was  the  severest 
blow  Sarawak  trade  had  suffered  for  many  years  ;  the  fast- 
sailing  prahus  might  out-sail  the  pirates,  or  the  well-armed 
ones  beat  them  off,  but  from  men-of-war  steamers  there  was 
no  escape. 

The  Rajah  has  from  his  accession  kept  a  strict  super- 
vision over  all,  even  the  smallest  details  of  revenue  and 
expenditure  ;  all  accounts  of  the  Treasury  and  out-stations 
are  submitted  to  him  monthly,  and  no  extra  expenses 
beyond  those  provided  for  by  his  orders  may  be  incurred  by 
any  department  or  in  any  out-station  without  his  express 
sanction.  His  guiding  principle  has  always  been  the 
strictest  economy  within  limitations  necessary  to  ensure 
efficiency.  Upon  his  accession  the  public  debt  amounted 
to  about  ,£15,000,  a  considerable  sum,  with  a  revenue  of 
only  little  over  $100,000;  this  was  exclusive  of  what  had 
been  sunk  by  the  late  Rajah — the  whole  of  his  fortune, 
which  Sir  Spenser  St.  John  is  wrong  in  saying  stands  to 
the  credit  of  the  Brooke  family  in  the  Treasury.  In 
1870  the  revenue  was  $122,842,  in  1907,  $1,441,195, 
with  a  large  surplus,  and  no  public  debt. 

Besides  the  supervision  of  the  Treasury,  the  Military, 
Naval,  and  Public  Works  departments  are  under  the  direct 
control  of  the  Rajah,  his  daily  routine  in  Kuching  includes 
visits  to  the  barracks,  to  the  steamers  and  engineer's  work- 
shop, and  to  the  jail,  all  which  would  be  the  work  of  the  early 
mornings  and  evenings.  The  Rajah  also  presides  in  the 
Supreme  and  in  the  Police  Courts,  hearing  and  settling  all 
cases  and  receiving  petitions,  and  listening  to  complaints  after 
the  cases  are  disposed  of;  seeing  all,  whoever  they  are,  and 
whatever  their  occasion.  After  Court  he  visits  the  offices  of 
the  various  heads  of  departments,  and  attends  to  any  business 
they  may  have  to  bring  before  him.  This  is  also  done  when 
he  visits  out-stations,  and  in  the  absence  of  the  Rajah  the 
same  rule  is  observed  by  the  Rajah  Muda. 

But  little  had  been  done  by  the  first  Rajah  towards  pro- 
moting the  commercial  and  industrial  development  of  the 
State.  He  had,  indeed,  induced  the  Baroness  Burdett  Coutts 
to   start  an  experimental   farm  with  paddy-working  mills  at 


32o  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

Lundu,  and  an  experimental  garden  near  Kuching,  to  teach 
the  natives  a  better  system  of  farming,  with  the  use  of  the 
plough,  and  to  introduce  new  products.  But  she  had  been  un- 
fortunate in  the  selection  of  managers  ;  the  experiments 
proved  failures,  and  were  abandoned  in   1872. 

Agriculture,  the  mainstay  of  all  tropical  countries, 
chiefly  occupied  the  present  Rajah's  mind,  but  to  quote  from 
a  speech  made  by  him  a  few  years  after  his  accession  : — 

I  do  not  flatter  myself  when  I  say  that  I  have  tried  my  best 
to  advance  agriculture,  but  I  have  most  signally  failed,  and  am, 
in  consequence,  much  disappointed.  Nevertheless,  I  still  entertain 
hopes  that  the  time  for  its  development  is  not  far  distant,  and 
I  am  prepared  to  take  any  pains,  to  receive  any  amount  of 
advice,  and  to  undergo  any  trouble  if  only  I  can  see  my  way  to 
successfully  spread  gardens  and  plantations  in  the  place  of  our  vast 
jungles. 

Many  schemes  to  promote  this  industry  had  been 
attempted,  and  had  failed  ;  but  the  Rajah  never  lost  sight  of 
his  purpose,  and  how  he  was  ultimately  rewarded  with  success 
a  reference  to  the  chapter  dealing  with  agriculture  will 
show. 

We  shall  now  notice  the  disturbances  that  occurred  in 
the  period  1868-70. 

In  July,  1868,  the  Rajah  led  an  expedition  against  the 
Delok  Dayaks  living  in  the  Upper  Batang  Lupar  for  causing 
trouble  over  the  borders,  and  another  in  May,  1S70,  against 
the  Beloh  Dayaks  in  the  Katibas  for  the  same  reason.  The 
Katibas,  who  had  hitherto  been  supporters  of  the  Government, 
had  been  led  astray  by  the  chief  Balang  a  in  1866,  who  then 
laid  a  well -planned  trap  to  get  the  Resident,  Mr.  J.  B. 
Cruickshank,  into  his  hands  to  murder  him.  He  was 
captured  by  the  Rajah,  and  taken  to  Sibu,  where  he  was 
executed. 

Both  these  expeditions  were  successful,  but  no  particulars 
of  either  are  to  hand.  These  expeditions,  however,  did  not 
result  in  a  final  settlement  of  these  disturbed  remote  districts. 
The  Dayaks  submitted,  only  to  break  out  again,  and  the  lesson 
had  to  be  repeated  several  times.  It  will  not  be  necessary  or 
1  Sec  chapter  x.  p.  287. 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE    321 

expedient  to  give  an  account  of  each  of  these.  There  is  a 
tragic  monotony  about  them — so  many  villages  burnt,  so 
many  casualties  to  the  punitive  force,  so  many  of  the  turbulent 
natives  killed,  and  then  a  hollow  peace  patched  up  between 
the  tribes  concerned,  with  the  usual  ceremonies  of  killing  of 
pigs. 

The  Sea-Dayaks  still  required  to  be  watched  and  con- 
trolled, and  "  it  would  be  strange  if  the  Government  had  not 
met  with  difficulties  in  keeping  in  subjection  r  60,00c1  wild 
Dayaks,  all  possessing  energetic  souls  for  warfare."  The 
Saribas,  the  most  troublesome  and  toughest  in  holding 
out,  eventually  settled  down  into  the  most  peaceful  and 
law-abiding  of  the  tribes,  and  became  great  traders,  and 
thoroughly  loyal.  This  was  the  case  as  far  back  as  1  865,  and 
in  that  year  the  present  Rajah  was  able  to  write  :  "  What  an 
altered  country  is  Saribas  to  what  it  was  a  few  years  ago. 
People  are  so  quiet  and  peaceably  disposed  there  now,  that 
never  a  word  of  head-hunting  is  breathed."  And  the  same 
may  be  said  of  the  Sekrangs,  who,  with  the  exception  of 
one  lapse,  caused  by  the  falsehood  and  treachery  of  a 
once  trusted  chief,  have  remained  true  and  faithful  to  the 
Government  that  had  brought  them  into  subjection.  And 
in  regard  to  all  the  Sea-Dayak  tribes,  then  as  now,  it  should 
be  borne  in  mind  that  their  uprisings,  though  bringing  them 
into  conflict  with  it,  are  never  directed  against  the  Govern- 
ment, with  the  above  exception  only,  which  is  related  in 
Chapter  XIV.  Like  the  Highlanders  of  yore,  we  may  class 
the  various  tribes  of  the  Dayaks  having  a  community  of 
language  and  customs  as  clans  spasmodically  at  feud  with 
one  another  ;  and  their  feuds  are  confined  to  the  far 
interior  of  the  State. 

On  the  evening  of  November  28,  1868,  the  Resident 
at  Muka,  Captain  W.  H.  Rodway,2  and  Mr.  E.  Sinclair3 
went  for  a  walk  to  the  mouth  of  the  river,  distant  some  two 
miles,  leaving  the  fort  in  charge  of  the  Sepoy  Sergeant  of 
the    guard.      That     morning    a     Malay    named     Ganti,    an 

1  This  number  includes  the  Kayan,  Kenyah,  and  other  inland  warlike  tribes. 

2  Afterwards  Major  Commandant  S.R. ,  joined  the  service  1862,  retired  1883. 

3  Joined    1868  ;    resigned   1873.      He    was    at    this   time   Assistant   Resident  of 
Bintulu,  and  was  at  Muka  on  a  visit. 

Y 


;>-- 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


ex-fortman,  had  been  sentenced  to  five  years'  imprisonment 
for  a  serious  crime.  He  at  once  formed  a  plan  with  the 
other  prisoners  to  rush  the  fort  and  effect  their  escape  ;  and 
the  culpable  carelessness  of  the  Sepoy  guard  soon  gave 
them  their  opportunity.  At  5  P.M.  the  prisoners  were 
brought  back  from  their  work,  and  noticing  that  the  whole 
of  the  guard,  with  the  exception  of  the  sentry,  were  outside 
the  fort  variously  employed  in  the  cookhouse,  at  the  bathing 
place,  etc.,  they  walked  in  and  closed  the  doors,  whilst  Ganti, 
who  on  a  plea  of  sickness  had  been  allowed  by  the  Sergeant 
to  leave  his  cell  in  the  basement  and  sit  on  the  floor  above 
under  the  charge  of  the  sentry,  with  a  handspike  killed  the 
sentry.  A  Mr.  Bain,  a  former  employe  of  the  Borneo 
Company,  who  was  then  a  trader  at  Ova,  and  was  at  the 
time  ill  in  the  fort,  was  murdered  in  his  bed  by  a  Chinaman, 
whom  he  had  imprisoned  for  debt. 

The  Resident  hurried  back  to  find  that  the  fort  with 
guns  and  ammunition  were  in  the  hands  of  the  prisoners, 
who  were  firing  at  the  natives,  and  whose  position  was 
impregnable.  Nothing  could  be  done  but  to  send  for  help 
from  Bintulu.  The  prisoners  amused  themselves  with  firing 
at  the  surrounding  houses,  but  their  aim  was  so  badly 
directed  that  they  did  no  harm  to  life,  and  but  little  to 
property.  At  last,  being  aware  that  they  could  not  hold  out 
against  the  force  that  they  knew  would  be  summoned  to 
reduce  them,  they  broke  into  the  Treasury  safe,  and 
collecting  all  the  property  they  could  take  with  them, 
decamped  in  the  night.  The  people,  who  throughout  had 
behaved  loyally,  promptly  went  in  pursuit,  overtook  the 
fugitives,  killed  every  one  of  them,  although  some  were 
Muka  men,  and  recovered  all  the  cash,  arms,  and  property 
that  had  been  carried  off. 

.Mention  has  been  made  of  the  Sepoys.  It  may  be 
here  said  how  that  some  of  these  men  came  into  the  Rajah's 
service.  Many  of  the  Sepoys,  who  had  been  mixed  up  with 
the  rebellion  in  India,  and  were  sentenced  to  death,  had 
their  sentence  commuted  to  penal  servitude  in  the 
Andamans  for  life.  The  Indian  Government  proposed 
to   the    late    Rajah    to   take    charge    of    some    of   these    in 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE    323 

Sarawak,  and  to  this  he  consented,  and  fifty  arrived  from 
Port  Blair  in  March,  1866.  There  were  some  soldiers,  quite 
boys,  and  raw  recruits,  some  of  various  other  trades,  and 
one  or  two  were  of  superior  rank.  On  reaching  Sarawak, 
they  all  elected  to  join  the  military  force,  and  were 
distributed  among  the  out-stations.  With  very  few  excep- 
tions, they  proved  themselves  to  be  a  steady  and  reliable 
set  of  men.  They  were  treated  as  free  men,  the  only 
stipulation  imposed  upon  them  was  that  they  were  not 
to  leave  the  country.  A  few  were  pardoned  and  returned 
to  India,  the  rest  died  as  pensioners  of  the  Sarawak 
Government.1 

On  May  13,  1870,  an  attack  was  made  on  Sibu 
fort'2  by  a  force  of  some  3000  Kanowit  Dayaks  under  the 
noted  chief,  Lintong  or  Mua-ari.  Sibu  fort,  which  is 
situated  on  an  island,  was  then  in  the  charge  of  Mr.  H. 
Skelton,3  with  Mr.  H.  Brooke  Low  as  his  assistant,  and  was 
manned  by  a  force  of  about  thirteen  Sepoys.  Mr.  Skelton 
had  been  frequently  warned  of  the  impending  attack,  but 
gave  no  credit  to  these  warnings,  and  would  allow  no  extra 
arms  to  be  loaded.  That  very  evening,  during  dinner-time, 
a  noted  Dayak  chief,  Unggat,  had  come  in  to  inform 
Mr.  Skelton  that  the  place  was  to  be  attacked.  Mr. 
Skelton  was  angry  at  being  interrupted  during  his  meal, 
and  vowed,  that  if  no  assault  was  made,  the  man  should  be 
imprisoned.  When  the  place  eventually  was  attacked,  the 
chief  paced  up  and  down  in  the  fort  and  would  take  no 
part  in  the  defence. 

It  was  the  custom  of  the  Sepoys  to  go  out  by  the  back- 
door before  daybreak  to  perform  their  ceremonial  ablutions, 
and  of  this  the  Dayaks  were  aware,  and  lay  in  wait  about 
the  exit  to  surprise  them.  But  the  Sepoys  were  on  their 
guard,  and  the  door  was  not  opened.  The  Dayaks  then 
attacked  the  fort  in  force,  endeavouring  to  cut  their  way 
in    with    axes,    but    they    were    beaten    off.      Amongst    the 

1  The  last  in  1902. 

2  Built  in  1863,  when  it  became  the  Government  headquarters  in  the  Rejang. 
Sibu  is  the  most  important  provincial  town,  and  has  a  revenue  larger  than  that  of 
Labuan. 

8  Henry  Skelton,  joined  1866,  died  in  1873,  immediately  after  being  appointed 
Resident  of  Sarawak. 


324  A    HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

killed  was  Lintong's  eldest  son,  a  boy  who  had  been  the 
inseparable  companion  of  Mr.  J.  B.  Cruickshank,  the 
Resident  of  the  Rejang,  who  was  then  at  home  on  leave. 

The  Sepoys  behaved  well,  and  had  to  be  restrained 
from  going  out  to  fight  the  Davaks  in  the  open.  Had  the 
fort  been  taken,  the  Chinese  quarters  and  the  Malay  villages 
would  have  fallen  an  easy  prey  to  the  Dayaks,  and  a  general 
massacre  would  have  ensued,  as  the  attack  was  timed  to  take 
place  when  all   the  able-bodied    Malays   were   away  on  their 


TORT    BROOKE,    SIBU 

(The  Forts  at  Bintulu,  Muka,  and  Kapit,  are  similar.  I 

farms.  This  is  the  sole  occasion  on  which  an  out-station 
fort  has  been  attacked  in  force,  and  it  revealed  to  the  naked 
savages  the  fact  that  with  their  primitive  weapons  it  was 
futile  making  such  an  attempt,  except  by  surprise.  But 
indeed,  on  this  occasion,  a  surprise  was  intended. 

Lintong,  the  troublesome  son  of  a  troublesome  father, 
had  been  a  constant  head-hunter,  and,  before  the  establish- 
ment of  the  station  at  Sibu,  a  scourge  to  the  Melanaus 
living  in  the  delta  of  the  Rejang.  He  had  before  attempted 
to  surprise  Kanowit  fort,  and  it  was  from  his  spear  that 
Mr.  Steele  had  had  a  narrow  escape.  He  had,  however, 
fought  on  the  side  of  the  Government  in  former  days  ;  and, 


THE   BEGINNING   OF  THE   SECOND   STAGE    325 

subsequent  to  the  attack  on  Sibu,  after  having  been  deprived 
of  his  liberty  for  some  time,  he  again  became  a  supporter 
of  the  Government,  and  eventually  a  Pengulu.  He  died 
of  snake  bite  in  September,  1887. 

The  Rajah  left  for  England  in  1869,  and  went  to  reside 
at  Burrator.  In  the  same  year  he  married  Margaret  Lili 
Alice  de  YVindt,  his  cousin,  daughter  of  Clayton  de  Windt, 
of  Blunsdon  Hall,  Highworth,  Wilts,  and  Dinnington, 
Northumberland,  and  sister  to  Mr.  Harry  de  Windt,  the 
famous  explorer,  who  served  in  Sarawak  as  A.D.C.  to  the 
Rajah  in   1 872-1  873. 


u 


H.H.S.     "ZAHORA. 


DART  I.    SALAM. 


CHAPTER    XIII 


BRUN1 


GOOD  deal 
has  already 
been  said 
about  that 
blot  on 
the  map 
of  Borneo, 
Bruni,  and 
of  its  Rulers,  and  in  this  chapter 
shall  be  given  the  history  of 
the  relations  between  the 
Sultans  and  the  present  Rajah  since  his  accession,  as  well 
as  of  the  policy  of  the  Foreign  and  Colonial  Offices  in 
regard  to  that  "  wretched  phantom  the  Bruni  Government."  ' 
Many  chapters  might  well  be  devoted  to  the  past  and 
present  history  of  Daru'l  Salam,  the  Haven  of  Peace,  the 
sublime  Arabic  title  by  which,  with  a  characteristic  disregard 
of  the   fitness   of  things,   the   Brunis    proudly    dignify    their 

1   Forests  of  the  Far  East,  S.  St  John. 
326 


BRUNI    1  HANANG    OR    GONG. 


BRUM  327 

unhappy  city,  as  they  do  their  Sultan  with  the  title  of  Ka- 
adil-an,  the  Just.  But  like  morning  dreams,  these  go  by 
contraries.  The  story  they  would  set  forth  would  be  a  sad 
one,  as  may  well  be  judged  from  what  has  already  been 
related  and  from  what  will  be  told  in  this  chapter,  though 
a  great  deal  more  might  be  said.  It  would  be  interesting, 
too,  as  another  example  of  British  indifference  to  Eastern 
affairs.  From  the  commencement,  when  nearly  seventy  years 
ago  the  attention  of  the  empire  was  so  strongly  drawn  to  this 
nest  of  murderers  and  robbers,  this  haven  of  criminals,  by 
the  late  Rajah,  till  the  end,  when  in  1905  the  British 
Government  elected  to  adopt  the  bankrupt  and  depopulated 
remnant  of  the  Sultanate,  its  policy  in  regard  to  that  State 
has  been  remarkable  for  neither  consistency  nor  astute- 
ness. 

During  the  last  twenty  years  of  his  reign  (1852-1885) 
the  old  Sultan,  Abdul  Mumin,  who  has  been  described  as 
having  the  soul  of  a  huckster,  and  who  died  at  the  age  of 
over  a  hundred,  devoted  his  life  solely  to  the  pursuit  of 
wealth,  and  the  unscrupulous  means  he  employed  to  enrich 
himself  produced  great  oppression  and  misery.  Affairs  of 
State  were  a  secondary  matter  with  him,  and  the  ministers 
and  pangirans  went  their  ways  unrestrained.  Some  of  these 
pangirans,  who  are  related  to  royalty,  a  few  closely,  others 
more  or  less  remotely,  exercise  "  Tulin  ''  or  hereditary  feudal 
rights  over  districts,  the  ministers  holding,  ex-officio,  similar 
rights  over  other  districts  ;  the  unhappy  people  therein 
were  completely  in  their  power,  and  could  be  squeezed  at 
their  own  sweet  will.  Others,  not  possessing  such  rights 
but  armed  with  authority  from  the  Sultan,  easily  obtained 
at  a  price,  enriched  themselves  by  forced  trading. 

The  poorer  classes  of  the  Bruni  Malays  are  hardworking 
and  law-abiding  ;  but  when  no  man's  property  is  safe  from 
the  rapacious  grasp  of  the  chiefs,  thrift  and  hard  work  cease 
to  have  an  object,  and  the  country  becomes  dead  to  industry 
and  enterprise.  The  inhabitants  of  the  interior,  and  the 
Kadayans,  an  industrious,  agricultural  people,  suffered  under 
the  same  disadvantages.  Like  the  Chinese,  these  people 
once  cultivated  pepper,  but  for  the  same  cause  gave  up  doing 


32S  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

so,  which  is  not  surprising  when  even  their  harvests  of  rice 
were  not  spared  to  them. 

The  late  Mr.  C.  A.  C.  de  Crespigny,1  who  had  a 
considerable  experience  of  Bruni  and  the  country  around  it, 
writing  upon  the  condition  of  the  place  in  the  seventies,  says  : 

"A  Pangiran  of  high  rank,  but  of  small  means,  went 
from  Bruni  to  Kalias,  and  with  his  own  hands  murdered  a 
Chinaman,  his  retainers  keeping  their  hands  in  by  the 
slaughter  of  one  or  more  of  the  man's  relations  and 
dependants.  The  murderer  then  gutted  the  shop  and 
returned  to  Bruni.  It  was  stated  that  the  Pangiran  belonged 
to  a  Chinese  secret  society,  as  young  Bruni  in  general  is 
said  to  do,  and  that  the  head  of  the  society,  having  a  trade 
grudge  against  the  poor  fellow  at  Kalias  actually  paid  the 
Pangiran  SSoo  for  the  deed.  Whether  this  was  true  or  not 
would  be  an  interesting  subject  for  investigation  ;  but  that 
the  man  was  murdered  by  the  Pangiran's  own  hand,  and 
his  goods  and  chattels  carried  away  to  Bruni,  is 
undoubtedly  the  case  ;  and  further  that  the  Pangiran  was 
not  punished  except  by  verbal  reproof.      Herein  is  anarch}-. 

"  On  another  occasion  at  Kalias  mouth,  twenty-eight 
Chinese  were  killed  by  a  band  of  marauders  from  up  the 
river  and  neighbouring  streams.  A  fine  was  imposed  upon 
the  river,  but  no  murderers  were  caught.  Herein  was  want 
of  power 

"  On  another  and  later  occasion,  a  Chinaman,  also 
living  at  Kalias,  was  murdered  by  a  band  of  ruffians  from 
Padas  Damit  and  other  streams,  together  with  his  wife, 
child,  and  only  servant.  On  this  occasion  two  of  the 
murderers  were  caught,  taken  to  Bruni,  and  as  they  were 
men  of  no  consequence,  summarily  executed.  Herein  is 
inconsistency. 

"  Men  arc  enslaved  without  proper  cause,  and  slaves  are 
torn  from  their  families  and  pass  to  other  owners  and  other 
countries,  against  their  wish." 

The  Bruni  of  the  old  days,  the  Bruni  of  yesterday,  and 

the  Bruni  of  to-day,  are  all  one. 

1  Formerly  of  the  Royal  Navy,  and  the  Labiian  (',\il  Service.  Joined  the 
Sarawak  Civil  Service  i . -■  —  1  W.is  Resident  at  Muka,  and  subsequently  Divisional 
Resident  of  the  U'l  Division       Died  1884. 


BRUNI  329 

Although  by  treaty  and  by  decree  the  trade  of  the 
coast  of  Bruni  territory  was  thrown  open  to  all,  the  Bruni 
pangirans  used  their  utmost  endeavours  to  retain  it,  and 
traders  from  Sarawak  and  Labuan  were  incessantly  obstructed 
and  interfered  with.  Competition,  coupled  with  free  trade, 
was  not  to  the  taste  of  these  pangirans,  and  as  the  old  Sultan 
was  himself  too  much  mixed  up  in  trading  transactions  to 
exert  himself  to  see  that  foreign  traders  received  due  pro- 
tection, the  pangirans  were  left  a  free  hand  to  deal  with 
them,  and  their  high-handed  proceedings  were  winked  at  by 
Sultan  Mumin,  if  not  actually  encouraged.  A  Sarawak 
Nakoda,  who  had  been  trading  with  Bruni  for  some  time, 
was  suddenly  attacked  when  leaving,  and  fired  into  by  seven 
boats  which  had  been  lying  in  wait  for  him.  He  managed 
to  escape  himself,  but  lost  his  property  to  the  value  of  $700. 
His  boat  was  destroyed,  and  the  Sarawak  flag  torn  to 
pieces.  Orders  were  sent  down  the  coast  closing  some  of 
the  ports  to  Sarawak  traders,  and  imposing  prohibitive 
duties  in  others.  One  order  recommended  the  people  to  go 
out  of  the  country  and  "  live  under  the  white  man  in 
Sarawak  till  they  rotted  "  if  they  would  not  pay  the  ex- 
orbitant taxes  demanded  of  them.  Sarawak  people,  collect- 
ing produce  in  the  jungle,  or  even  when  fishing  along  the 
coast,  had  their  goods  and  boats  seized. 

In  reply  to  the  Rajah's  despatches  complaining  of  these 
outrages,  the  Sultan  expressed  friendship  for  Sarawak  and  a 
desire  to  foster  trade,  and  in  one  or  two  cases  actually  made 
reparation ;  but  he  excused  himself  in  general  by  his  helpless- 
ness to  enforce  his  will  on  the  turbulent  and  headstrong 
nobles.  And,  in  fact,  the  difficulties  did  not  lie  in  lack  of 
a  clear  understanding  and  of  formal  agreements,  perhaps 
not  in  a  languid  desire  on  the  part  of  the  Sultan  to  stand 
on  good  terms  with  the  Rajah,  but  in  the  arbitrary  conduct 
of  the  leading  pangirans  holding  authority  along  the  coast. 
Respect  for  treaties  and  for  fair  dealing  formed  no  part  of 
the  mental  equipment  of  these  feudal  tyrants,  and  the 
central  power  at  Bruni  was  either  too  weak,  or  too  timid,  or 
too  deeply  involved  to  interfere  with  them. 

In  January,  1870,  the  Rajah  wrote  to  Lord  Clarendon  : 


0J»l 


A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 


"  In  regard  to  matters  relating  to  the  interests  and 
welfare  of  the  coast  of  Borneo  to  the  northward  and  eastward 
of  the  territory  under  my  control,  I  am  led  to  understand 
that  her  Majesty's  Government  has  no  desire  to  direct 
attention  to  this  part,  with  a  view  to  bringing  about  a 
better  system  to  further  the  ends  of  peace  and  trade,  and 
to  relieve  the  honester  and  lower  classes  from  the  gross  and 
degraded  position  to  which  they  are  now  reduced  by  the 
oppressive  measures  of  the  Brum"  Government.  H.H.  the 
Sultan  permits  anarchy  and  bloodshed  throughout  his 
dominions,  and  there  is  no  exaggeration  in  saying  that  this 
is  carried  on  within  sight  of  the  British  flag  at  Labuan." 

The  authorities  at  Labuan,  which  was  a  fully  constituted 
Crown  Colony,  the  Governor  being  also  Consul-General  for 
Borneo,  were  either  purposely  blind  to  what  was  going  on 
at  Bruni,  which  was  but  a  few  miles  off,  or  were  too  much 
hampered  in  their  actions  by  instructions  from  home  to 
effect  any  reforms  in  the  State.  But,  to  quote  from  the 
letter  of  a  Naval  Officer  of  high  rank,  "Mr.  J.  Pope  Hennessy" 
(afterwards  Sir  John  Pope  Hennessy,  who  was  Governor  of 
Labuan  from  1 867-1  871),  "had  an  object  in  upholding  the 
Sultan  and  encouraging  him  in  the  oppression  of  his  subjects, 
as  that  caused  many  to  take  refuge  in  Labuan."  A  little 
judicious  advice,  backed  by  the  immense  power  which  the 
Sultan  and  his  nobles  knew  the  Governor  had  behind  him, 
would  have  effected  much  towards  the  amelioration  of  the 
lot  of  the  natives,  but  nothing  whatever  was  done.  The 
Bruni  Malays  must  "  stew  in  their  own  juice,"  it  was  no 
concern  of  her  Majesty's  Government  that  Sarawak  trade 
should  be  interfered  with,  for  what  was  Sarawak  to  Britain  ? 
It  was  no  concern  of  her  Majesty's  Government  that  the 
Sultan  and  his  pangirans  were  breaking  the  heart  of  the 
people,  killing  the  incentive  to  industry.  It  looked  on  with 
a  cold  eye,  and  with  a  callous  heart. 

As  a  colon}-  Labuan  was  a  failure.  Only  a  few  natives 
and  Chinese  had  settled  there,  and  there  was  little  trade. 
Instead  of  being  the  medium  through  which  reforms  on  the 
coast  might  be  effected,  Labuan  for  long  stood  in  the  way, 
by  checking   the   spread  of  the   influence  of  Sarawak   along 


BRUNI  331 

the  coast.  The  Foreign  Office  was  guided  by  the  advice  of 
their  Consul-General,  and  was  rarely  other  than  ill-advised, 
though  the  late  Sir  Henry  Keppel  "  had  pleaded  the 
cause  of  civilisation  that  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak  should  be 
encouraged  and  not  thwarted  in  his  attempt  to  advance." 
And  he  expressed  "  a  hope  that  he  might  live  to  see  the 
Sarawak  territory  extended  to  Brum"  itself."  Mr.  J.  Pope 
Hennessy  in  his  address  to  the  Legislative  Council  of 
Labuan  in  June,  1871,  said:  "The  policy  promulgated 
thirty  years  ago  by  some  enterprising  and  benevolent 
Englishmen  that  the  Dayaks  could  be  civilised,  and  that 
Europeans  could  conduct  the  details  of  trade  and  administra- 
tion in  the  rivers  of  Borneo  has  proved  to  be  visionary." 

It  is  easy  to  imagine  what  would  be  the  nature  of 
advice  tendered  to  the  Foreign  Office  upon  Bornean  affairs 
by  such  a  man.  At  the  time  when  he  made  this  statement 
Sarawak  was  in  absolute  tranquillity,  and  the  trade  of  1870 
had  nearly  doubled  that  of  the  preceding  year. 

And,  with  exceptions,  the  Governors  of  Labuan  were 
always  more  or  less  hostile  to  Sarawak,  because  jealous  of  it. 
Labuan  was  stagnant  and  Sarawak  steadily  advancing  in 
vigorous  life. 

In  April,  1872,  the  Rajah,  accompanied  by  a  staff  of 
English  and  Malay  officers,  visited  Bruni  in  the  Government 
steamers  Heartsease  and  Royalist.  It  was  perhaps  not 
unnatural  that  this  visit  was  at  first  regarded  with  suspicion 
as  being  in  the  form  of  a  demonstration  against  Bruni,  to 
back  unheeded  protests  against  the  maltreatment  of  Sarawak 
subjects,  and  the  nonfulfilment  of  treaty  engagements.  But 
this  impression  was  soon  dispelled,  and  the  Rajah  was 
received  by  the  Sultan,  "  a  fat,  kindly-faced  old  man  of 
some  eighty  years  of  age,"  with  cordiality  and  honour.  The 
Rajah's  main  object  in  visiting  Bruni  was  to  obtain  an 
effective  guarantee  that  his  subjects  trading  in  Bruni 
territory  should  not  be  molested  and  unwarrantably  inter- 
fered with.  A  treaty  conceding  all  that  the  Rajah  asked 
for  was  accordingly  drawn  up  and  ratified  by  the  Sultan, 
and  was  satisfactory  enough  on  paper.  The  Sultan 
solemnly   undertook   the    redressing    of  injuries,    guaranteed 


332  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

protection     to    traders,    and     the     imposition    of    fair    and 
moderate  customs  duties  only. 

But  this  treat}-,  owing  to  the  Sultan  being  powerless  to 
enforce  its  provisions  outside  the  capital,  soon  became  worse 
than  useless  ;  for,  relying  on  it  being  observed,  Sarawak 
traders  again  ventured  into  the  Bruni  ports,  only  to  meet 
with  the  same  treatment  as  before.  The  extortion  of  out- 
rageous customs  dues  went  on  as  formerly.  The  Bruni 
nobles,  "  the   most   useless    race    that    ever    encumbered    the 


THE    SULTAN  S    PALACE. 


earth,"  '  set  themselves  deliberately  to  frustrate  every  object 
aimed  at  in  the  treaty,  and,  so  that  they  might  keep  the 
trade  with  its  enormous  profits  to  themselves,  they  plundered, 
and  even  killed  those  who  ventured  to  compete  with  them. 
But  their  day  was  not  to  last  for  ever.  The  Kayans, 
driven  to  exasperation  by  the  heavy  fines  and  other 
extortions  imposed  upon  ithem,  eventually  rose  against 
these  tyrants,  and  drove  them  out. 

Next  to  the  Rejang,  the  Baram  is  the  largest  river 
that  flows  into  the  seir*  on  that  coast.  In  its  basin  are 
congregated  large  populations  of  Kayans  and  Kenyans. 

In    1872,  the   Rajah,  accompanied  by  the   Ranee,  visited 

1  St  John's  Fan  />  of  the  Far  F.iisf. 


BRUNI  333 

this  river  to  ascertain  for  himself  how  far  it  would  be  safe 
for  Sarawak  subjects  to  trade  there.  He  steamed  a  long 
way  up  the  river,  and  was  everywhere  well  received  by  the 
natives,  who  had  been  much  depressed  by  extortion  and 
were  eager  to  be  relieved  from  the  thraldom  in  which  they 
were  held  by  Bruni.  There  had  been  no  encouragement 
given  to  them  to  work  the  jungle  produce  in  which  their 
country  was  rich,  except  to  purchase  necessaries,  and  these 
could  be  obtained  through  their  Bruni  masters  alone,  and 
that  at  exorbitant  prices.  There  was  in  consequence  little 
trade  at  the  time.  But  what  this  river  is  capable  of  pro- 
ducing may  be  shown  by  its  trade  returns  at  present.  The 
exports,  entirely  of  jungle  produce,  after  the  district  had 
been  for  twenty  years  under  Sarawak,  amounted  in  1906  to 
8272,223. 

Although  the  Sultan  had  no  real  authority  over  the 
Kayans  and  Kenyahs  there  still  existed  among  them  a 
certain  regard  for  him,  and  of  this  the  Bruni  Government 
took  advantage.  These  races  had  never  been  subdued  by 
the  Sultans  by  force  of  arms.  They  never  had  voluntarily 
tendered  submission.  The  restraint  exercised  over  them  was 
due  mainly  to  the  fact  that  the  Brunis  held  the  mouths  of  the 
rivers  and  consequently  controlled  the  trade,  and  that  trade 
was  one  in  the  very  necessaries  of  existence.  It  was  inevit- 
able that  the  rulers  of  Bruni  should  resent,  and  resist  to  the 
utmost,  the  opening  of  the  rivers  to  Sarawak  traders,  which 
would  involve,  as  they  well  saw,  the  drying  up  of  the  source 
of  their  wealth. 

The  natives  on  the  Baram  had  an  exaggerated  opinion 
of  the  power  of  Bruni,  but  this  illusion  was  dispelled  after  a 
feeble  attack  made  on  the  Kayans  in  September,  1870, 
which  resulted  in  ignominious  failure.  Still,  they  were 
prepared  to  submit  to  such  demands  which,  though 
extortionate,  custom  had  taught  them  to  regard  as  the 
Sultan's  due,  and  they  could  not  do  without  the  imports, 
which  they  were  precluded  from  obtaining  elsewhere  and 
from  others,  than  Bruni  and  the  hands  of  pangirans.  But 
the  rapacity  of  the  pangirans  became  at  last  intolerable ; 
and    we    will    here    give    two    instances    illustrative    of    the 


334  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

methods  adopted  by  them,  which  were  connived  at  by  the 
Sultan. 

In  1873,  a  mixed  party  of  Dayaks,  Tanjongs,  and 
Bukitans  from  the  Rejang  river,  working  produce  in  the 
Baram,  were  attacked  by  the  Kayans.  Six  were  killed  and 
one  escaped.  The  survivor  stated  that  the  party  had  been 
treacherously  attacked  ;  but  on  the  other  hand  the  Kayans 
asserted  that  the  behaviour  of  the  strangers  had  been  so 
suspicious  that  they  had  satisfied  themselves  that  they 
were  a  head-hunting  party.  The  Rajah  complained  and 
demanded  redress.  The  Sultan  sent  an  agent  in  his  small 
steamer  to  impose  a  fine,  which  in  itself  was  excessive. 
The  agent  proceeded  to  the  house  of  the  chief  of  the  lower 
Baram  Kayans,  although  these  people  had  nothing  to  do 
with  the  killing  of  the  subjects  of  the  Rajah,  but  it  was  as 
far  up  as  he  dared  to  venture,  and  levied  the  fine  upon 
them,  demanding  double  the  amount  he  had  been  instructed 
to  impose,  the  difference,  of  course,  to  go  into  his  own 
pocket.  The  Rajah  had  fixed  the  fine,  but  the  Sultan  had 
put  on  his  price  as  well,  so  that  he  might  have  his  pickings 
out  of  the  affair,  and  now  his  agent  doubled  that  sum.  It 
was  in  vain  for  the  chief  to  protest  that  neither  he  nor  his 
people  had  been  concerned  in  the  murders.  The  Sultan's 
agent  threatened  the  chief  that  if  he  did  not  pay,  the 
Rajah  would  send  several  men-of-war,  that  others  would  be 
despatched  from  Labuan,  and  more  from  Bruni,  and  that 
all  their  country  would  be  laid  waste  and  their  villages 
burned.  After  a  stormy  interview,  the  chief  succeeded  in 
beating  the  agent  down  to  a  fine  amounting  to  88000,  just 
thirty  times  more  than  the  amount  demanded  by  the  Rajah 
as  compensation  to  the  relatives  of  those  killed.  And  this 
fine  the  chief  was  constrained  to  pay. 

Upon  the  death  of  the  Sultana,  a  commissioner  was 
sent  to  Baram  by  the  Sultan  to  demand  the  customary  aid 
towards  the  obsequies.  A  meeting  of  all  the  chiefs  was 
summoned  by  the  commissioner,  a  haji,  and,  as  it  happened, 
the  late  Mr.  H.  Brooke  Low,  who  was  then  travelling  in 
the  Baram,  was  present.  The  Sultan's  mandate,  requiring 
so  much  from   each  man,  was  read  and  left  with    the   chiefs, 


BRUNI  335 

the  haji  not  for  a  moment  suspecting  that  any  one  present 
could  read  it.  Mr.  Low,  however,  was  able  to  do  so,  and 
when  it  was  shown  to  him  he  was  shocked,  though  not 
surprised,  to  discover  that  the  haji  had  read  into  the 
mandate  a  requirement  for  amounts  more  than  double  that 
demanded. 

But  the  rebellion  of  the  Kayans  and  the  expulsion  of 
the  Brunis  from  Baram  ensued  in  the  middle  of  1874; 
the  river  was  freed  of  its  oppressors,  and  the  victorious 
Kayans  menaced  every  settlement  along  the  coast  from 
the  Baram  to  Bintulu.  The  villages  were  deserted  and 
the  Sultan  was  in  despair,  unable  to  reduce  the  Kayans, 
unable  even  to  protect  the  Malays.  Not  only  could  he 
draw  no  revenue  thence,  but  he  dare  not  even  ask  for 
it.  This  prepared  the  way  for  the  transfer  of  the  whole 
stretch  of  coast  to  Sarawak.  So  far  as  the  Sultan  was 
concerned  he  was  glad  to  commute  the  sovereignty  of  a 
district,  from  which  little  before  the  revolt,  and  nothing 
after,  could  be  squeezed  by  himself  out  of  the  inhabitants,  for 
a  certain  sum  guaranteed  to  be  paid  to  himself  annually. 

To  escape  Bruni  oppression,  people  were  constantly 
migrating  to  Sarawak,  principally  from  the  Semalajau,  Niah, 
and  Miri  rivers,  and  in  1876  over  2000  came  in.  These 
poor  people  had  to  effect  their  escape  by  stealth,  and  conse- 
quently had  to  abandon  all  their  property.  Shortly  after 
this  upwards  of  500  families  of  Kenyahs  moved  over  into 
the  Bintulu. 

In  accordance  with  the  treaty  with  Great  Britain  of  1847 
the  Sultan  was  debarred  from  ceding  any  territory  to  any 
foreign  power  without  the  sanction  of  her  Majesty's  Govern- 
ment. This  gave  the  British  Government  the  right,  or 
rather  the  power,  to  prevent  Sarawak  acquiring  the  Baram, 
and  this  it  was  prepared  to  do.  As  usual  it  proved  obstruc- 
tive, and  refused  to  sanction  the  transfer  ;  it  went  so  far  as 
to  express  its  unwillingness  to  allow  any  territorial  change 
to  be  made  on  the  coast  of  Bruni.  This  was  insisted  on 
again  in  1876,  though  the  Rajah  wrote  to  the  Secretary  for 
Foreign  Affairs  (March  20)  "  I  may  candidly  state  that  a 
most  pernicious  system  of  robbery  and  oppression  is  pursued 


336  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

by  the  hirelings  of  the  Bruni  Government.  It  surely  can 
scarcely  be  conceived  by  her  Majesty's  Government  that 
upholding  the  authority  of  the  Bruni  Government  is 
tantamount  to  supporting  the  cause  of  oppression  and 
misrule." 

Her  Majesty's  Government  had  refused  to  interfere  in 
any  way  with  that  of  Bruni  for  the  amelioration  of  the 
condition  of  the  people,  and  the  maintenance  of  open  ports 
and  free  trade  ;  had  stood  aloof  as  not  disposed  to  interfere 
in  the  internal  affairs  of  the  Sultanate,  and  yet  now,  most 
inconsistently,  it  stepped  in  to  forbid  the  cession  to  Sarawak 
of  a  portion  of  that  miserably  misgoverned  and  depopulated 
State. 

The  fact  seems  to  have  been  that  the  Foreign  Office 
had  been  persistently  misinformed  as  to  the  position  and 
prospects  of  Sarawak,  and  as  to  the  conduct  of  the  Rajah 
towards  the  Sultan.  The  latter  had  agreed  to  the  cession 
of  Baram  to  Sarawak  ;  he  desired  it  for  monetary  reasons, 
the  only  reasons  that  appealed  to  or  swayed  him.  But 
when  Sir  Edward  Hertslet  informed  Mr.  H.  T.  Ussher, 
C.M.G.,  who  was  Governor  of  Labuan  from  1875  to  1^79i 
and  who  appreciated  the  motives  which  guided  the 
Rajah,  that  he  "  in  common  with  others  at  the  Foreign 
Office  had  fancied  that  the  acquisition  of  the  Baram  by 
Sarawak  would  lead  to  the  loss  of  its  sago  trade  with 
Labuan,"  the  cat  was  out  of  the  bag.  Incidently  we  may 
remark  that  Baram  exported  no  sago,  and  that  there  could 
then  have  been  little  or  no  trade  between  that  river  and 
Labuan,  for  during  the  first  six  months  of  Sarawak  rule 
the  exports  amounted  in  value  to  S9000  only.  It  was  a 
dog-in-the-manger  policy,  what  Labuan  could  not  have,  that 
it  was  resolved  Sarawak  should  not  have,  and  the  interests 
of  the  people  were  left  out  of  the  question.  It  is  possible 
enough  that  this  was  inspired  by  jealousy.  No  man  likes 
to  sec  his  own  field  sterile  and  that  of  his  neighbour  pro- 
ducing luxurious  crops.  Conceive  the  feelings  of  a  small 
mercer  in  the  same  street  as  a  YVhiteley  or  Harrod,  who 
finds  his  own  business  dwindling,  and  is  oppressed  by  the 
extension    and    success    of  the   great   firm   a   few  doors  off. 


BRUNI  337 

Such     may    have     been     the    feeling    of    a     Governor     of 
Labuan. 

The  Rajah  visited  England  in  1874,  and  on  July  16 
handed  in  a  memorandum  to  the  Secretary  of  State  for 
Foreign  Affairs,  pointing  out  that  the  appropriation  by 
foreign  powers  of  north-west  and  north-east  Borneo  and 
the  Sulu  Archipelago *  should  be  guarded  against,  and 
recommended  to  ensure  this,  and  for  the  benefit  of  trade 
and  of  the  native  communities,  that  Great  Britain  should 
assume  the  sovereign  power  over  those  territories  that 
remained  to  the  Sultanate  of  Bruni,  that  the  Sultan  and 
his  heirs  should  be  pensioned,  as  well  as  the  five  principal 
Bruni  Rajahs ;  and  that  a  town  should  be  built  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Bruni  river,  which  should  become  the  headquarters 
of  her  Majesty's  Representative,  in  place  of  Labuan.  All 
that  the  Rajah  asked  for  Sarawak  was  that  Baram  should 
be  incorporated  with  that  State,  owing  to  the  fact  that  the 
inland  population  of  that  river  and  that  of  the  Rejang  were 
greatly  intermixed,  and  should  therefore  be  under  one  head 
and  government. 

A  policy  somewhat  similar  to  that  above  indicated  was, 
a  year  after,  inaugurated  with  great  success  in  the  Malay 
Peninsula,  and  it  would  doubtless  have  met  with  equal 
success  in  Borneo  had  it  found  favour  with  her  Majesty's 
Ministers  then,  though  thirty  years  afterwards  they  saw 
reason  to  adopt  it,  but  only  after  Bruni  had  become  a 
bankrupt  State,  stripped  of  most  of  its  territories,  and  with 
its  small  remaining  revenue  pawned.  At  the  time  when 
the  Rajah  made  his  proposal,  the  whole  of  what  is  now  the 
British  North  Borneo  Company's  territory,  together  with 
Lawas,  Trusan,  Limbang,  and  Bruni,  might  have  been 
acquired,  and  the  Sultan  would  then  have  become  as 
powerless  to  do  harm  as  one  of  the  native  princes  of  the 
Federated    Malay   States,   thus    relieving  the   people  of  the 

1  It  will  be  remembered  that  in  1849  the  late  Rajah,  as  her  Majesty's  Commissioner, 
had  concluded  a  treaty  with  the  Sultan  of  Sulu,  but  this  had  to  be  ratified  within  two 
years.  The  British  Government,  however,  would  not  place  a  man-of-war  at  the 
Rajah's  disposal,  and  he  was  unable  to  proceed  to  Sulu  to  effect  this  necessary 
ratification.  The  Spaniards,  by  force  of  arms,  enforced  another  treaty  upon  Sulu, 
and  before  those  two  years  had  expired.  But  the  British  Government  took  no 
interest  in  Sulu,  and  this  was  allowed  to  pass  unheeded. 

Z 


0  3' 


A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 


intolerable  oppression  of  a  government  which  had  reduced 
the  population  to  a  small  remnant  of  what  it  had  been 
formerly. 

The  policy  adopted  in  regard  to  the  native  States  of 
the  Malay  Peninsula  in  1875,  referred  to  above,  is  generally 
known  as  that  of  Sir  Andrew  Clarke,  who  was  Governor  of 
the  Straits  Settlements  from  1873  to  1875.  It:  was  tne 
policy,  however,  that  the  late  Rajah,  many  years  before,  had 
advocated  as  one  which  should  be  introduced  into  all  native 
States,  and  he  then  wrote  :  "  The  experiment  of  developing 
a  country  through  the  residence  of  a  few  Europeans  and  by 
the  assistance  of  its  own  native  rulers  has  never  been  fully 
tried,  and  it  appears  to  me,  in  some  respects  more  desirable 
than  the  actual  possession  of  a  foreign  nation  ;  for  if 
successful,  the  native  prince  finds  greater  advantages,  and 
if  a  failure,  the  European  government  is  not  committed. 
Above  all  it  insures  the  independence  of  the  native  princes, 
and  may  advance  the  inhabitants  further  in  the  scale  of 
civilisation  by  means  of  this  very  independence,  than  can  be 
done  when  the  government  is  a  foreign  one,  and  their 
freedom  sacrificed." 

Compare  this  with  the  remark  made  by  Sir  Andrew 
Clarke  in  his  speech  before  the  Legislative  Council  of 
Singapore  on  the  government  of  the  native  States  :  "  We 
should  continue  a  policy  not  of  aggression  upon  our 
neighbours,  but  of  exercising  our  own  influence,  and  by 
giving  them  officers  to  help  them." 

Had  the  late  Rajah's  policy  been  adopted,  Sumatra,  or 
that  part  of  it  which  had  not  been  relinquished  to  the 
Dutch  in  1824,  might  now  contain  many  States  as 
flourishing  as  those  of  the  Malay  Peninsula.  On  March  3, 
1 844,  the  Rajah  wrote  :  "  I  was  glad  of  the  opportunity  I 
had    of   seeing    the    political    state    of    Achin,    as    it    fully 

confirmed   my   views,    which    I    made  known   to   Sir  , 

of  the  steps  necessary  to  protect  and  enlarge  our  commerce. 
Achin,  like  Borneo,  is  now  in  such  a  state  of  distraction  that 
no  protection  can  be  found  for  life  or  property.  To  protect 
our  trade  we  must  make  a  monarch,  and  uphold  him  ;  and 
he  would   be  a   British  servant  de  facto.      We  could  always 


BRUNI  339 

raise    the    better    and    depress    the    worse,    in    other   words 
support  those  who  will  benefit  ourselves." 

A  policy  that  both  the  Rajahs  had  advocated  should 
be  adopted  towards  Bruni. 

For  many  years,  as  we  have  seen,  Sarawak  had  to 
contend  with  the  opposing  influence  of  Governors  of  Labuan 
adverse  to  her  advancement,  but  in  1875  Mr.  Ussher  was 
appointed  Governor,  and  he  was  not  prepared  to  take  for 
granted  all  the  stories  of  Sarawak  aggression  and  intimida- 
tion which  were  poured  into  his  ears.  He  sought  for 
independent  testimony,  inquired  into  matters  himself,  and 
was  not  disposed  to  gloss  over  the  misdeeds  of  the  Sultan 
and  his  pangirans,  and  to  suppress  all  mention  of  these  in 
his  despatches  home. 

Towards  the  end  of  his  term  of  office  Mr.  Ussher  wrote 
to  the  Rajah,  "  I  have  had  an  important  interview  to-day 
with  Mr.  Meade  at  the  Colonial  Office.  The  object  in  view 
was  to  ascertain  the  advisability  of  permitting  you  to 
acquire  Baram.  I  ascertained  that  the  objections  against 
this  step  were  reduced,  firstly,  to  an  idea  that  undue  pressure 
was  put  upon  the  Sultan  ;  secondly,  that  resident  (!)  traders, 
British,  in  that  river  would  be  damaged  thereby. 

"  I  also  ascertained  that  the  Colonial  Secretary  here  was 
not  at  all  disposed  to  carry  out  the  views  obstructive  of 
Sarawak  advance,  which  have  animated  his  predecessors  ; 
but  that,  on  the  contrary,  he  was  disposed  to  allow  you  and 
the  Sultan  to  arrive  at  your  own  terms,  so  long  as  the 
Sultan  was  a  perfectly  free  agent  in  the  matter. 

"In  the  course  of  a  rather  lengthy,  and,  I  trust,  not 
ineffective  address  on  my  part,  I  successfully  combated 
these  trivial  and  groundless  objections,  and  exposed  the 
fallacy  of  Sir  Henry  Bulwer's l  and  Mr.  Pope  Hennessy's 
views  with  regard  to  your  dealings  with  the  Sultan.  I 
pointed  out  also  the  gross  injustice  and  oppression  of  the 
Bruni  rule  in  these  territories,  and  expressed  my  firm  con- 
viction of  the  general  desire  on  the  part  of  the  industrious 
and  agricultural  classes  to  pass  under  your  settled  and 
civilised   rule.      I  demonstrated   that   there  were  no  resident 

1  He  had  succeeded  Mr.  Pope  Hennessy,  and  was  Mr.  Ussher's  predecessor. 


340  A   HISTORY   OF   SARAWAK 

British  traders,  either  in  Baram  or  elsewhere  in  these  parts, 
whose  interests  could  be  imperilled.  Further,  that  so  long 
as  you  impose  no  restrictive  export  duties  on  native  produce 
from  the  river,  there  was  nothing  whatever  to  prevent  the 
sago,  etc.,  coming  to  Labuan  or  anywhere  else. 

"  I  admitted  that  I  had  at  first  been  disposed  to  adopt 
the  Sultan's  view  with  regard  to  your  relations  with  him 
generally,  but  that  careful  inquiry  and  matured  experience 
had  proved  to  me,  not  only  the  untruth  of  the  accusations 
of  intimidation  brought  against  you,  but  also  the  advisability 
of  permitting  you  to  extend  your  rule  by  all  legitimate 
means,  instead  of  supporting  from  quixotic  and  mistaken 
motives  the  effete  and  immoral  rule  of  Bruni.  Mr.  Meade 
finally  suggested  to  me,  that  the  question  might  be  settled 
by  allowing  you  to  make  your  own  terms  with  the  Sultan, 
with  the  proviso,  that  any  agreement  or  treaty  made 
between  the  two  should  be  subject  to  the  ratification  of  her 
Majesty's  Government,  who  would  thus  have  it  in  their  power 
to  nullify  any  injustice  either  to  Bruni  or  British  interests. 

"  From  Sir  M.  Beach's  views,  and  from  Mr.  Meade's 
proposal,  I  argue  that  the  matter  lies  now  at  last  in  your 
own  hands,  as  Lord  Salisbury  is  likely  to  accept  the 
Colonial  Office  views  in  these  comparatively  small  matters, 
on  account  of  its  necessarily  more  detailed  and  minute 
experience  of  the  interests  of  Borneo  generally. 

"  On  the  whole  I  think  we  may  congratulate  ourselves 
on  the  prospect  of  a  satisfactory  solution  of  this  unpleasant 
affair.  You  may  always,  as  you  know,  depend  upon  me 
never  to  allow  an  opportunity  to  pass  of  helping  you  and 
Sarawak  generally.  Apart  from  our  personal  friendship,  I 
act  on  the  conviction  that  Sarawak  is  the  future  regenerator 
of  Borneo." 

This  was  in  January,  1879,  Dut  Government  officials 
move  slowly,  and  in  a  mysterious  way,  and  it  was  not  till 
late  in  1882  that  the  Foreign  Office  sanctioned  the  annexa- 
tion of  Baram  by  Sarawak.  Thus,  at  length,  after  negotiat- 
ing a  transfer  with  the  Sultan  in  1874,  the  obstruction  of 
the  British  Government  was  overcome,  but  it  took  eight 
years  to  do  this.     ^ 


BRUNI  341 

A  new  spirit  had  come  over  the  Governors  of  Labuan, 
and  the  somewhat  ignoble  spite,  bred  partly  of  ignorance 
and  partly  of  jealousy,  which  had  characterised  their  conduct 
with  regard  to  Sarawak,  and  the  Rajah  in  particular,  was 
exchanged  at  last  for  generous  and  honest  recognition  of  the 
excellence  of  his  rule,  and  of  the  injustice  of  forcing  the 
natives  against  their  will  to  remain  under  the  cruel 
oppression  of  this  Old  Man  of  the  Sea  astride  on  their 
shoulders. 

The  subsequent  administrators  of  Labuan  were  favour- 
able to  Sarawak,  but  in  1889  the  Colony  was  handed  over 
to  the  British  North  Borneo  Company.  Their  officials  had 
no  authority  outside  of  Labuan  and  did  not  correspond 
with  the  Foreign  Office,  and  Consuls  were  appointed  to 
Bruni. 

In  June,  1883,  the  Rajah  visited  Bruni,  and  was  re- 
ceived by  the  aged  Sultan  with  special  marks  of  distinction. 
The  Sultan  waited  at  the  entrance  of  the  audience  chamber, 
and  taking  the  Rajah  by  the  hand,  led  him  to  the  throne 
where  he  seated  him  by  his  side.  Negotiations  for  the 
cession  of  Baram  and  the  rivers  and  districts  lying  between 
that  river  and  Bintulu  were  at  once  entered  upon,  and 
speedily  concluded,  and  on  the  1 3th,  the  deed  of  cession 
was  finally  sealed  and  delivered. 

The  cession  of  this  district  gave  great  satisfaction  to  the 
inhabitants,  and  most  of  those  who  had  migrated  to  Sarawak 
returned  by  degrees.  A  fort  was  erected  at  Claudetown  2 
(Merudi)  about  sixty  miles  up  the  Baram  river,  and  here 
Chinese  and  Malay  traders  soon  settled,  and  a  brisk  trade 
rapidly  sprang  up.  Minor  stations  were  also  established  at 
Miri  and  Niah.  The  turbulent  Kayans  and  Kenyahs 
speedily  became  pacified,  and  existing  feuds  were  settled. 
Now,  this  district  is  one  of  the  most  peaceful  and  prosperous 
in  the  State.2  The  entrance  to  the  river  is,  and  has  been, 
a  great  hindrance   to   trade,  the  bar  being  very  shallow  and 

1   Named  after  the  late  Mr.  C.  A.  C.  de  Crespigny. 

'-'  In  a  great  degree  due  to  the  able  administration  of  Mr.  Charles  Hose,  D.Sc. , 
who  served  in  this  district  for  twenty  years,  during  sixteen  of  which  he  was  Resident 
ir.  charge.  In  1904  he  became  Divisional  Resident  of  the  3rd  Division  ;  he  retired  in 
1907. 


342  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

exposed,  so  that  it  is  unsafe  for  sailing  vessels  and  screw- 
steamers.  The  Government  accordingly  had  a  special 
steamer  of  200  tons  built  in  England  to  carry  the  trade. 
She  is  practically  flat-bottomed,  and  is  propelled  by  paddles. 
Another,  larger,  was  added  as  the  trade  increased.  In 
January,  1884,  the  Rajah  was  notified  by  Earl  Granville 
that  her  Majesty's  Government  had  no  objection  to  the 
exercise  of  jurisdiction  over  British  subjects  by  the  judicial 
authorities  of  the  Government  of  Sarawak  in  this  newly- 
acquired  territory. 

Only  one  chief  in  Baram  gave  any  trouble  ;  and  he  was 
Aban  Jau,  chief  of  the  Tinjar  Kayans.  He  persistently 
interfered,  and  thwarted  the  policy  of  Government  as  much  as 
he  could  without  bringing  himself  into  open  conflict  with  the 
authorities.  He  maintained  a  position  of  semi-independence, 
and  flew  his  own  flag.  But  in  May,  1884,  he  committed  an 
intolerable  act,  and  had  to  be  humbled.  As  the  affair  is 
illustrative  of  the  iniquities  allowed  at  Bruni  until  quite 
recently,  the  particulars  may  be  given.  To  appease  the 
manes  of  his  daughter-in-law,  Aban  Jau  sent  to  Pangiran 
Nipa  of  Tutong,  asking  for  a  slave,  so  that  he  might 
immolate  the  unhappy  wretch.  His  messengers  went 
to  Bruni,  where  two  pangirans,  Matusin  and  Tejudin, 
handed  them  a  slave,  an  old  and  decrepit  man,  whom  they 
sent  as  a  present  to  Aban  Jau.  The  Resident  at  Claude- 
town,  hearing  of  this,  had  the  party  intercepted  and  arrested, 
but  too  late  to  save  the  slave.  He  had  been  killed  and  his 
head  taken,  as  he  was  too  old  to  walk,  and  the  messengers 
did  not  care  to  trouble  themselves  to  carry  him.  Aban  Jau 
was  severely  punished  ;  he  submitted,  and  his  power  was 
broken.  He  was  no  better  than  an  aged  savage,  and  there 
was  some  excuse  for  him,  as  he  was  complying  with 
ancestral  customs  ;  but  there  was  none  for  the  Muhammadan 
Bruni  pangirans  for  despatching  a  miserable  old  slave  to 
a  death  by  torture. 

In  June,  1884,  by  the  Sultan's  orders,  a  Dusun  village 
was  attacked — the  time  for  the  attack  being  chosen  when 
nearly  all  the  able-bodied  men  were  absent,  and  over 
twenty    women     and     children    were     killed.       Oppression 


BRUNI  343 

became  so  rife  that  many  refugees  crossed  the  frontier  into 
Sarawak  territory,  abandoning  in  so  doing  their  property 
and  plantations.  In  August  of  the  same  year,  the  people 
of  Limbang  broke  out  into  open  rebellion. 

The  Limbang  river  waters  a  wide  district  that  is  fertile 
and  populous.  The  people  possessed  extensive  sago  planta- 
tions, and  were  comparatively  prosperous.  On  this  account 
they  were  all  the  more  oppressed  by  the  pangirans.  There 
was  no  protection  for  person  and  property,  and  women  and 
girls  were  carried  off  to  fill  the  harems  of  Bruni.  This  was 
the  people  that  suffered  such  cruel  wrongs  at  the  hands  of 
the  Pangiran  Makota,  and  it  was  in  this  river  that  he  met 
his  death  in  i860. 

The  trouble  began  with  two  of  the  agents  of  the 
Pangiran  Temanggong,  the  then  Regent  and  heir  apparent, 
being  killed  whilst  extorting  taxes.  The  pangiran  thereupon 
went  up  in  his  steam-launch  with  a  large  following,  and 
proposed  that  the  chiefs  should  meet  him  at  a  certain  place 
and  discuss  matters.  The  proposal  was  made  in  guile,  his 
real  purpose  being  to  seize  the  opportunity  for  slaughtering 
them.  But  these  people  had  had  many  years'  experience  of 
pangirans  and  their  little  ways,  and  met  guile  with  guile. 
The  proposal  was  acceded  to,  but  whilst  the  pangiran  was 
on  his  way  to  the  appointed  rendezvous  he  himself  fell  into 
an  ambuscade. 

Fire  was  opened  on  his  party,  and  he  was  forced  to  beat 
a  retreat,  his  launch  damaged,  seventeen  of  his  men  killed, 
and  more  wounded.  Bruni  was  thrown  into  panic,  and 
stockades  were  erected  to  resist  an  expected  invasion.  The 
Limbang  people  followed  up  their  advantage  by  raiding  the 
suburbs  of  the  town,  and  a  house  was  attacked  within  half  a 
mile  of  the  Sultan's  palace. 

The  Sultan,  then  in  his  dotage,  was  helpless,  and  appealed 
to  the  acting  Consul-General,  Mr.  Treacher  (now  Sir  William 
Treacher,  K.C.M.G.),  to  help  him  out  of  his  difficulties.  Mr. 
Treacher  knew  that  the  Limbangs  had  been  driven  to 
rebellion  by  the  intolerable  exactions  to  which  they  had 
been  subjected,  and  he  declined  to  interfere,  unless  the 
Sultan  and  his  wazirs    should    concede  a  charter  releasing 


344  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

the  Limbangs  from  all  arbitrarily  imposed  taxes,  and  limiting 
taxation  to  a  small  poll  tax,  and  a  5  per  cent  ad  valorem  duty 
on  gutta  percha,  granting  them  at  the  same  time  immunity 
for  their  property  and  sago-plantations,  and  engaging  that 
no  more  tax-collectors  should  be  sent  from  Bruni  to  the 
river,  and  that  a  general  amnesty  should  be  accorded. 

This  charter,  embodying  so  many  radical  reforms,  was 
granted  with  ill -concealed  reluctance,  and  without  the 
slightest  intent  of  performance. 

Armed  with  this  document,  Mr.  Treacher  proceeded  to 
the  Limbang.  But  already  the  Sultan  had  sent  word  to 
the  Muruts  to  fall  on  the  Limbangs  and  kill  and  pillage  as 
they  liked. 

Whilst  Mr.  Treacher  was  negotiating  with  the  chiefs, 
news  arrived  that  these  savages  had  murdered  four  Kadayan 
women  and  two  men,  and  they  were  consequently  ill- 
disposed  to  accept  the  charter.  They  knew  by  experience 
that  they  could  not  rely  upon  the  good  faith  of  the  Sultan 
and  his  wazirs.  However,  Mr.  Treacher  was  urgent,  and 
hesitatingly  they  appended  their  marks  to  the  document  ; 
relying  rather  on  the  white  man  to  see  that  its  provisions 
were  carried  out,  than  feeling  that  any  confidence  could  be 
placed  in  the  word  of  the  Sultan. 

And  in  fact,  no  sooner  was  the  agreement  signed,  than 
the  Sultan  sent  his  emissaries  into  the  Baram  district  to  invite 
the  Kayans  to  raid  the  Limbang,  but  the  Sarawak  Govern- 
ment got  wind  of  this,  and  at  once  took  prompt  and  effective 
measures  to  prevent  the  tribes  on  the  Baram  from  answering 
the  appeal. 

In  December,  1884,  Mr.  Frank  R.  O.  Maxwell,1  who 
was  administering  the  Government  in  the  absence  of  the 
Rajah,  when  at  Bruni  heard  that  sixteen  Sarawak  Dayaks 
and  four  Malays  had  been  killed  while  collecting  produce 
in  the  neighbouring  river,  Trusan.  The  Sultan  in  his 
impotence  to  act,  suggested  to  Mr.  Maxwell  his  willingness 
to  cede  the  Trusan  district  to  Sarawak.  The  feudal  rights 
over  this  district  were  held   by  the  Pangiran   Temanggong, 

1  Joined  1872;  was  Assist. mi  Resident,  and  Resident  of  Batang  Lupar  and 
Saribas,  and  in  1881  became  Divisional  Resident  ol  Sarawak  proper.  He  retired  in 
1895,  and  died  in  1897. 


BRUNI 


345 


and  he  too  consented.  Bruni  and  Sarawak,  he  said,  were 
the  same  country,  and  in  transferring  his  rights  to  Sarawak 
he  would  be  incorporating  himself  in  the  Sarawak  Govern- 
ment. Subject  to  the  approval  of  the  Rajah,  Mr.  Maxwell 
accepted  this  offer  of  the  Trusan. 

The  Sultan,  the  Pangiran  Temanggong,  and  other 
wazirs  and  pangirans  were  then  all  in  favour  of  the  cession 
of  the  Limbang,  as  well   as   the  Trusan,  to  Sarawak.      The 


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Chinese  and  Malay  traders  and  the  lower  classes  strongly 
advocated  the  transfer  ;  and  the  Regent  and  the  wazir  next 
to  him  in  rank  gave  Mr.  Maxwell  a  written  promise  with 
their  seals  attached  that,  pending  the  return  of  the  Rajah, 
Limbang  should  not  be  transferred  to  any  foreign  govern- 
ment. On  the  return  of  the  Rajah  early  in  1885,  Trusan 
was  occupied,  and  a  fort  and  station  established  some  thirty 
miles  from  the  mouth,  to  which  English  and  native  officers 
were  appointed.  The  Muruts  up  the  river  were  a  quarrel- 
some people,  and  blood-feuds  were  common,  and  gave  some 
trouble  at  first.  The  people  generally  had  become  miserably 
poor  through  a  long  course  of  oppression. 

Trusan  is  a  good  example  of  what  tact  and  discretion 


346  A   HISTORY   OF  SARAWAK 

can  do  in  dealing  with  natives,  and  the  Muruts  were  the 
most  savage  of  those  in  that  part.  In  a  very  few  years 
they  became  peaceful,  well-to-do,  and  contented,  enjoying 
the  fruits  of  their  labours  in  security.  Trusan  has  now  a 
fairly  flourishing  trade,  and  the  rich  plains  through  which 
the  river  winds,  and  which  in  days  gone  by  had  been 
extensively  cultivated  with  rice,  but  which  had  been 
rendered  desolate  by  extortion,  now  afford  large  grazing 
grounds  for  herds  of  water-buffaloes,  which  are  bred  for 
export,  and  also  excellent  land  for  the  cultivation  of  the  sago 
palm. 

Barely  a  month  had  elapsed  since  the  peace  had  been 
patched  up  with  the  Limbang  people  by  the  acting  Consul- 
General,  before  the  people  were  again  in  revolt,  and  many 
Bruni  Malays,  men  and  women,  were  killed,  large  numbers 
of  buffaloes  were  mutilated,  and  again  the  capital,  Bruni, 
was  menaced.  Nothing  further  was  done  by  the  British 
Government,  and  nothing  could  be  done,  except  to  establish 
a  firm  government  in  the  disaffected  region,  and  the  Foreign 
Office  was  not  prepared  to  do  this.  As  for  the  authorities  in 
Kruni,  they  were  incapable  of  doing  anything.  Their  only 
idea  of  keeping  rebellious  subjects  under  control  was  to 
invoke  the  aid  of  wild  interior  tribes,  and  invite  them  to 
butcher  and  plunder  all  who  resisted  their  exactions,  and  this 
they  could  no  longer  do. 

On  May  30,  1885,  the  old  Sultan  Mumin  departed 
this  life,  at  the  venerable  age  of  over  one  hundred  years, 
and  the  Pangiran  Temanggong  Hasim,  reputed  son  of  the 
late  Sultan  Omar  Ali,1  the  predecessor  of  Sultan  Mumin,  was 
elevated  to  the  throne.  Sultan  Hasim,  who  was  past  middle 
age  when  he  succeeded,  was  a  shrewd  man,  though  hard  and 
vindictive.  His  antecedents  had  not  been  exemplary,  but 
hopes  were  entertained  that,  being  a  man  of  strength  of 
mind  and  of  advanced  ideas,  an  improvement  would  be 
effected  in  the  administration  of  Bruni,  which  would  lead 
to  the  establishment  of  good  order  and  bring  the  place  and 
State  out  of  absolute  decay  into  comparative  prosperity,  but 
these  hopes,  strong  man  as  he  was,  he  was  powerless  to  fulfil. 

footnote,  p.  69. 


BRUNI  347 

In  order  to  appreciate  much  that  occurred  during  the 
reign  of  Sultan  Hasim  it  is  necessary  to  understand  the 
conditions  under  which  he  became  Sultan,  and  the  effect 
that  these  conditions  had  upon  his  power  and  position. 

His  predecessor,  Mumin,  had  an  only  son,  the  Pangiran 
Muda  Muhammad  Tejudin,  a  semi -imbecile,  nicknamed 
Binjai,  literally  the  son  of  misfortune,  signifying  an  idiot. 
Much  as  Sultan  Mumin  would  have  liked  to  have  proclaimed 
his  son  heir  to  the  throne,  it  was  quite  impossible  for  him  to 
do  so  in  opposition  to  the  natural  objections  of  the  nobles, 
upheld,  as  these  were,  by  the  laws  of  Bruni,  which  preclude 
the  accession  of  any  prince  afflicted  with  mental  or  bodily 
infirmity.  The  succession  would  therefore  fall  upon  either 
of  the  Sultan's  nephews,  the  Pangiran  Bandahara,  or  the 
Pangiran  di  Gadong,  and  both  claimed  it.  These  two 
powerful  princes  and  wazirs,  with  their  feudal  and  official 
territorial  rights,  and  the  many  nobles  and  chiefs  who  owed 
them  allegiance,  represented  the  most  powerful  factions  in 
the  country,  and  the  accession  of  either  to  the  throne  would 
have  plunged  the  country  into  bloodshed.  To  avert  this,  the 
British  Government  persuaded  Sultan  Mumin,  but  not  without 
bringing  considerable  pressure  to  bear  upon  him,  to  nominate 
the  Pangiran  Temanggong  Hasim,  the  senior  wazir,  as  his 
successor,  and  to  appoint  him  Regent,  the  old  Sultan  being 
too  feeble-minded  to  govern. 

Hasim's  elevation  to  the  throne  gave  profound  offence  to 
the  Pangirans  Bandahara  and  di  Gadong,  and  to  the  majority 
of  the  people,  who  believed  the  story  of  his  mean  birth,  and 
that  he  had  no  just  title  to  the  rank  he  held  as  a  prince  of 
blood  royal.  That  his  accession  was  not  disputed  was  due 
only  to  its  implied  support  of  the  British  Government,  though 
that  support  would  probably  have  failed  him  had  he  been 
forced  to  fall  back  upon  it.  The  Bandahara  and  di  Gadong, 
though  they  retained  their  offices,  for  many  years  refused  him 
their  support,  and  would  neither  attend  his  Council  nor 
maintain  any  kind  of  relation  with  him,  notwithstanding  the 
fact  that  they  were  his  two  principal  Ministers  of  State  ;  and 
he  was  powerless  to  force  them  to  do  so,  or  to  deprive  them 
of  their  offices. 


348  A    HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

Moreover,  his  predecessor  had  left  him  in  sore  straits  for 
the  means  necessary  for  the  support  of  his  government,  and 
even  of  his  household.  None  of  the  late  Sultan's  property 
came  to  him,  and  the  whole  of  the  crown-lands  in  Bruni 
territory  had  been  illegally  granted  to  others,  and  these, 
though  his  rightful  appurtenances,  he  had  no  power  to 
recover. 

Sultan  Hasim  thus  came  to  the  throne  practically  shorn  of 
everything  that  goes  to  the  support  of  a  crown.  Abandoned 
by  his  ministers,  and  the  loyalty  of  his  people  denied  him, 
deprived  of  his  revenues,  and  with  but  a  few  followers,  there 
was  nothing  left  him  but  the  sovereign  rights,  shadowy  in 
nature  since  he  had  not  the  means  fully  to  exert  them.  A 
pathetic  picture  ;  but  in  spite  of  his  faults  it  says  much  for 
his  personal  ability  and  strength  of  character  that  he  was 
able,  not  only  to  maintain  his  position,  but  gradually  to  gain 
sufficient  power  to  exert  his  authority,  and  to  make  his  will 
felt.  It  must  not  be  overlooked  that  many  of  his  worst  acts 
were  the  direct  outcome  of  his  necessitous  condition,  and  the 
constant  intriguing  against  him  by  his  own  ministers. 

Owing  to  lack  of  power  to  chastise  the  rebels,  though  not 
of  will,  Limbang  had  been  let  alone  by  the  Sultan,  and  for 
some  time  there  were  no  aggressive  acts  committed  by  either 
side,  but  in  November,  1885,  the  people  of  Limbang  were 
again  in  open  rebellion  and  had  killed  two  more  Bruni 
subjects.  The  Sultan  thereupon  sent  the  Rajah  two  pressing 
messages  asking  him  to  visit  Bruni,  and  this  the  Rajah  did. 
The  Sultan  laid  the  state  of  affairs  before  him,  and  declared 
that  he  saw  no  hope  of  peace  unless  the  Rajah  would  consent 
to  attack  the  Limbang,  and  reduce  the  people  to  order  for 
him.  Limbang  was  sufficiently  near  to  be  a  menace  to  the 
capital.  Twice  it  had  been  threatened  by  them,  and  the 
suburbs  raided.  The  third  time  might  be  more  disastrous. 
The  town  might  fall  into  their  hands. 

The  Rajah,  however,  declined  to  interfere.  The  Limbang 
people  were  at  peace  with  Sarawak,  and  numbers  of  his 
subjects  were  working  produce  in  that  river,  and  met  with 
friendliness  there.  To  reduce  these  people  to  submission,  and 
then  to  hand  them  over  to  oppression,  after  having  deprived 


BRUNI  349 

them  of  the  power  to  protect  themselves,  was  what  the 
Rajah  would  never  consent  to  do.  That  something  must  be 
done,  and  done  at  once,  he  felt,  but  the  question  of  what 
should  be  done  was  for  the  representative  of  her  Majesty's 
Government  to  decide. 

As  we  have  before  pointed  out,  in  the  Sultanate  of 
Bruni,  there  are  various  rights  claimed.  The  Sultan  has 
his  rights,  some  districts  revert  to  the  holders  of  certain 
offices,  and  others  are  under  the  hereditary  feudal  rule  of  the 
pangirans.  Limbang  pertained  to  this  last  category.  The 
Sultan  was  sovereign,  but  his  sovereign  rights  consisted  in 
this  alone,  namely,  to  send  his  agents  into  the  country  and 
squeeze  it.  The  feudal  lords  were  the  pangirans,  and  as 
they  could  not  oppress  the  exasperated  and  revolted  people 
any  more,  they  were  ready  to  surrender  their  rights  to  the 
Rajah,  but  could  not  do  this  without  the  Sultan's  confirma- 
tion and  seal.  What  the  Sultan  wanted  was  that  the  Rajah 
should  crush  the  rebellion,  so  that  he  might  work  his  vengeance 
on  the  Limbang  people,  and  turn  the  screw  on  them  till 
nothing  more  could  be  extracted  from  them.  This  the  Rajah 
perfectly  understood,  and  he  declined  to  do  the  dirty  work 
for  the  Sultan.  The  refusal  of  assistance  by  the  Rajah 
produced  a  coolness  on  the  part  of  the  Sultan.  He  would 
not,  however,  receive  this  refusal  as  final,  and  he  repeated  his 
request  to  the  Rajah  in  an  altered  form  ;  he  requested  him 
to  place  the  gunboat  Aline  with  a  strong  force  of  Sarawak 
Dayaks,  also  a  large  sum  of  money,  at  his  (the  Sultan's) 
disposal,  for  the  purpose  of  enabling  him  to  reduce  the 
Limbang  people  under  his  own  officers,  if  the  Rajah  himself 
would  not  head  the  expedition. 

The  Rajah's  refusal  aroused  an  angry  feeling  in  the 
breast  of  Hasim,  and  this  was  fanned  to  bitter  hostility,  when 
the  Consul-General  informed  him  and  the  Limbang  people 
simultaneously,  in  reply  to  a  petition  of  the  latter  that  they 
might  be  placed  under  the  rule  of  white  men,  that  her 
Majesty's  Government  was  prepared  to  consent  to  the  transfer 
of  Limbang  to  Sarawak.  The  Sultan's  hostile  attitude  was 
not  shared  by  his  ministers,  or  by  the  Bruni  people  generally, 
or  even  by  the  hereditary  owners  or  rulers  of  the  Limbang. 


350  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

These  latter,  as  has  been  shown,  unable  to  extract  more  taxes 
from  the  people,  hoped  to  receive  from  the  Sarawak  Govern- 
ment an  annual  stipulated  income  in  lieu  of  precarious  and 
uncertain  exactions.  They  accordingly  begged  the  Rajah  to 
take  over  the  river.  But  the  Sultan  refused  to  consent,  and 
his  refusal  was  probably  actuated  even  then  by  motives  other 
than  those  of  revenge  and  resentment  as  the  sequel  will  show. 

In  September,  1886,  two  cold-blooded  murders  were  com- 
mitted in  the  Tutong,  within  a  day's  journey  overland  from 
Bruni.  Two  young  pangirans,  a  man  and  a  woman,  had  been 
living  together  without  the  sanction  of  their  respective  parents. 
The  girl,  after  a  while,  was  ordered  by  her  father,  Pangiran 
Nipa,  to  return  to  him.  She  did  so,  and  he  then  put  her  to 
death  with  his  own  hands.  The  young  man,  Pangiran  Japar, 
was  brother  to  Pangiran  Mat,  who  had  been  placed  in 
charge  of  Tutong  by  the  Pangiran  di  Gadong,  the  ex-officio 
holder  of  feudal  rights  in  that  district.  Japar  and  Mat  were 
both  subjects  of  Sarawak.  A  short  time  after  the  murder  of 
the  girl,  Nipa's  brother,  the  Pangiran  Tejudin,  son-in-law  of 
the  Sultan,  and  uncle  of  the  unfortunate  girl,  sent  an  armed 
party  to  Pangiran  Mat,  to  inform  him  that  a  mandate  had 
been  issued  by  the  Sultan  for  the  execution  of  Japar. 
Pangiran  Mat  did  not  ask  to  be  shown  this  mandate,  and  in 
fact  Tejudin  had  none,  but  was  intimidated  into  allowing  his 
brother  to  be  killed. 

The  Rajah  was  at  the  time  at  Bruni,  and  he  at  once 
demanded  of  the  Sultan  that  a  fair  trial  of  Pangiran  Tejudin 
should  be  held.  There  was  very  little  doubt  that  the  Sultan's 
name  had  been  misused,  and  Japar  was  a  Sarawak  subject. 
As  no  justice  was  likely  to  be  obtained  in  Bruni,  the  Rajah 
further  demanded  that  the  murderer  should  be  handcuffed  and 
sent  to  Labuan  for  trial,  when  the  truth  would  come  out. 
But  this  was  refused.  The  Sultan  naturally  was  determined 
to  screen  his  son-in-law,  who  had  instigated  the  murder,  and 
who  was  then  in  the  palace  enjoying  his  protection.  The 
Rajah  indignantly  declined  to  meet  the  Sultan  so  long  as 
the  murderer  was  sheltered  under  his  roof.  So  the  matter 
ended,  but  it  widened  the  rift  between  the  Rajah  and  the 
Sultan. 


BRUNI  351 

In  June,  1887,  Sir  Frederick  Weld,  Governor  of  Singapore, 
went  to  Bruni  to  settle  a  dispute  between  the  North  Borneo 
Company  and  the  Sultan  over  a  debateable  strip  of  land. 
Sultan  Hasim  seized  the  occasion  to  pour  into  the  ear  of  Sir 
Frederick  a  tissue  of  accusations  against  Sarawak,  and  no 
Sarawak  official  was  allowed  to  be  present  to  refute  them. 
The  Government  of  the  Rajah  was  charged  with  disturbing 
the  peace,  and  with  sending  its  emissaries  into  the  Limbang 
to  foster  discontent,  and  to  keep  the  rebellion  simmering, 
in  the  hopes  of  being  able  to  find  an  excuse  for  annexing  the 
district.  Sir  Frederick  listened,  but  apparently  believed 
little  he  heard,  for  he  recommended  the  Sultan  to  hand 
over  the  Limbang  to  the  Rajah.  He  further  strongly  urged 
the  Sultan  to  accept  a  British  Protectorate  over  his  remaining 
dominions,  and  to  receive  a  Resident,  who  might  act  as 
adviser  in  the  administration  of  the  State.  The  Sultan 
consented  to  this  latter  recommendation  ;  his  intention, 
however,  to  accept  a  British  Resident  at  Bruni,  to  prevent  his 
misrule,  and  to  curb  the  tyranny  of  his  adherents,  was  only 
pretence.  Sir  Frederick  Weld  was  perhaps  acting  beyond 
his  instructions  in  proposing  the  appointment  of  a  Resident, 
but  the  proposal  was  sound.  In  September,  1888,  the  late 
Sir  Hugh  Low,  then  Resident  of  Perak,  was  despatched  to 
Bruni  to  conclude  an  agreement  with  the  Sultan  by  which 
Bruni  became  a  Protectorate. 

In  the  Federated  Malay  States,  as  in  the  Indian  Pro- 
tectorates, British  Residents  are  placed  who  can  advise  as 
to  the  conduct  of  government,  and  it  is  perfectly  understood 
by  the  native  rulers  that  their  advice  must  be  followed.  Now, 
a  British  Protectorate  had  been  extended  over  Bruni,  and 
as  a  consequence  a  Resident  should  have  been  placed  there 
to  control  the  Sultan  and  check  the  misdoings  of  his  chiefs. 
But  nothing  of  the  sort  was  done.  The  Limbang  was  left 
in  a  condition  of  disorder,  and  a  menace  to  its  neighbours, 
and  the  Brunis  to  the  arbitrary  injustice  and  cruelty  of 
their  rulers.  Trusan  now  offered  a  near  haven  of  refuge 
to  which  many  fled,  both  slaves  and  free-born  people,  the 
latter  chiefly  to  save  their  daughters  from  a  fate  worse 
than    slavery  —  a    short     period     in     a    harem,    and    then 


352  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

domestic  drudgery  for  life.  The  British  Government  would 
do  nothing,  and  looked  very  much  as  if  it  were  not 
disposed  to  allow  any  one  else  to  do  anything.  Sir  Hugh 
Low,1  who  had  an  exceptional  experience  of  Bruni  and  the 
people,  had  urged  the  Sultan  to  place  the  Limbang  under 
the  Rajah,  tendering  the  same  advice  as  had  Sir  Frederick 
Weld  ;  but  to  this,  also,  Hasim  turned  a  deaf  ear. 

The  Limbang  chiefs,  after  having  maintained  their 
independence  for  six  years,  early  in  1890  decided  to  settle 
the  question  of  their  future  for  themselves.  They  assembled, 
and  of  their  own  free  will  and  accord  placed  their  country 
under  the  protection  of  Sarawak,  and  themselves  under  the 
authority  of  its  Government  ;  in  token  of  which  they  hoisted 
the  Sarawak  flag.  In  justice  to  the  claims  of  the  inhabitants, 
and  in  conformity  with  a  promise  he  had  made  to  them  to 
tender  such  assistance  as  lay  in  his  power,  the  Rajah 
accepted  the  responsibility  thus  placed  upon  him,  and 
annexed  the  country  on  March  17,  subject  to  the  approval 
of  her  Majesty's  Government. 

The  Rajah  had  already  frequently  approached  the 
Sultan  on  behalf  of  these  unfortunate  people  to  urge 
that  justice  should  be  done  to  them,  and  that  they  should 
not  be  given  over  to  be  preyed  upon  by  rapacious 
pangirans.  The  Pangiran  Muda,  son  of  the  late  Rajah 
Muda  Hasim,  who  by  birth  was  the  nearest  to  the  throne, 
and  who  possessed  feudal  rights  over  a  part  of  the  Limbang, 
having  abandoned  all  hope  of  being  able  to  exercise  those 
rights  and  draw  any  revenue  from  the  district,  ascended  the 
river  and  openly  proclaimed  to  his  people  that  he  had 
handed  over  all  his  rights  to  the  Rajah.  The  other 
hereditary  holders  of  feudal  authority  in  the  district  had 
again  approached  the  Rajah,  and  had  entreated  him  to 
annex  Limbang,  which  had  become  not  only  unprofitable  to 
them,  but  a  menace  to  Bruni.  The  Rajah  would  have 
been  untrue  to  his  word  passed  to  the  Limbang  chiefs  had 
he  left  them  to  their  fate,  after  the  failure  of  his  negotiations 
and    repeated    attempts    to    intercede     for    them    with    the 

1  sir  Hugh  Low,  G.C.M.G.,  who  was  then  British  Resident  •>!   Perak,  had  for 
many  y*  '  olonial  Secretary  at  Lai 


BRUN1  353 

Sultan.  Although  he  was  averse  to  taking  this  step,  yet  he 
felt  that  it  was  not  possible  for  him  to  refuse  the  appeals 
that  came  to  him  from  all  sides  to  interfere,  and  it  was  the 
only  solution  of  the  difficulty,  failing  the  appointment  of  a 
British  Resident,  for  the  people  could  not  be  expected  to 
again  place  themselves  under  the  power  of  a  Sultan  who 
would  keep  no  promises,  and  who  intended  no  mercy. 

The  Sultan,  however,  mortified  in  his  pride,  and  being 
thus  prevented  from  giving  vent  to  his  vindictive  feeling, 
had  remained  obdurate.  For  some  time  he  had  been 
accumulating  arms  and  ammunition  at  Bruni  for  a  great 
attempt  upon  the  Limbang,  whilst  through  his  minister,  the 
di  Gadong,  he  was  keeping  up  a  pretence  of  peace.  If 
he  succeeded,  the  horrors  that  would  have  ensued  in  the 
Limbang  may  well  be  conceived  ;  but  if  he  failed,  he  would 
draw  on  Bruni  hordes  of  desperate  savages,  infuriated  by 
years  of  ill-treatment,  and  the  Brunis  feared  that  the  capture 
of  their  town  and  a  general  massacre  would  be  the  result. 

These  were  the  reasons  that  led  the  Rajah  to  act 
promptly,  and  to  appeal  to  her  Majesty's  Government  to 
sanction  such  action.  The  Foreign  Office  approved,  after 
having  kept  the  Rajah  in  anxious  suspense  for  a  year, 
and  fixed  the  annual  sum  to  be  paid  by  the  Sarawak 
Government  for  the  Limbang  at  $6000,  but  failing  the 
Sultan's  acceptance  of  this  for  three  consecutive  years,  this 
indemnity  would  be  forfeited. 

The  Sultan  declined  to  receive  this  compensation,  not, 
however,  so  much  as  a  protest  against  the  action  of  the  Rajah, 
— a  purpose  with  which  he  has  generally  been  accredited,  with 
not  a  little  misplaced  sympathy, — but  mainly  to  punish  his 
recalcitrant  ministers,  the  Pangirans  Bandahara  and  di 
Gadong.  Hitherto  he  had  been  quite  powerless  to  do  this, 
but  an  opportunity  was  now  afforded  him,  and  he  did  not 
hesitate  to  avail  himself  of  it.  The  two  pangirans  were  the 
principal  holders  of  the  feudal  rights  over  the  Limbang, 
which  of  late  years  had  yielded  them  nothing,  and  they 
naturally  desired,  badly  off  as  they  were,  that  the  Sultan 
should  sanction  the  acceptance  of  the  indemnity,  the 
greater    part   of  which    would   have    reverted    to   them,   and 

2  A 


354  A   HISTORY  OF   SARAWAK 

would  have  afforded  them  a  fixed  and  ensured  revenue,  even 
more  than  they  had  ever  been  able  to  extort  from  the 
people.  The  remainder  would  have  gone  to  the  Pangiran 
Muda,  and  not  a  cent  of  it  would  have  gone  to  the  Sultan. 
But  by  the  laws  of  Bruni,  feudal  rights  cannot  be  alienated 
without  the  sanction  of  the  Sultan  ;  and  he  subsequently 
informed  the  British  Consul  that  he  had  withheld  his 
sanction,  and  would  do  so  as  long  as  he  lived,  a  determina- 
tion to  which  he  vindictively  adhered,  solely  that  he  might 
deprive  his  two  ministers  of  the  revenues  to  which  they 
were  entitled.  He  went  so  far  as  to  tell  the  Consul  that 
he  had  no  real  grievance  against  the  Rajah,  but  it  being 
necessary  to  find  some  plausible  pretext  for  his  decision  he 
had  invented  one,  which  no  one  in  Bruni  could  call  into 
question. 

Sir  Spenser  St.  John,  writing  privately  to  the  Rajah  at  this 
time  said,  "  If  the  Foreign  Office  could  understand  how  the 
Bruni  Rajahs  govern  Limbang,  they  would  make  no  objection 
to  your  taking  it  over.  It  is  a  most  interesting  river,  and 
when  no  longer  harassed  by  Kayan  raids x  and  plundered 
by  Bruni  Rajahs,  it  will  be  one  of  the  richest  on  the  coast. 
Sago  can  be  planted  to  any  extent,  and  it  used  to  be  famous 
for  its  pepper  gardens.  In  fact  Chinese  were  working  there 
nearly  to  the  foot  of  Mulu  mountain  " — over  one  hundred 
miles  from  the  coast. 

But  in  his  life  of  Rajah  Brooke  published  in  1899, 
Sir  Spenser  St.  John  alters  his  tone.  He  remarks  that 
"  unless  we  are  to  adopt  the  principle  that  '  the  end  justifies 
the  means,'  it  is  difficult  to  approve  the  action  of  Sarawak 
in  seizing  by  force  any  part  of  the  Sultan's  dominions.  A 
little  gentle,  persevering  diplomacy  would  have  secured 
Limbang  without  violating  any  principle  of  international 
law.  I  am  convinced,  however,  that  the  present  Rajah  was 
deceived  by  some  one  as  to  the  political  position  of  that 
district,  as  he  wrote  that,  for  four  years  previous  to  his  action, 
Limbang  was  completely  independent  of  the  Sultan,  which 
his  officers  subsequently  found  was  not  the  case." 

As  to  the  first  part  of  this  statement.  Sir  Spenser  when 

1  These  had  long  ce.i 


BRUNI  355 

he  wrote  it,  had  severed  his  connexion  with  Borneo  for 
nearly  forty  years,  and  it  shows  how  little  he  was  kept  in 
touch  with  Bornean  affairs  since  he  left  ;  or  does  Sir  Spenser 
imagine  that  he  would  have  succeeded  where  such  men  as 
the  Rajah  and  Sir  Hugh  Low  had  failed  ;  both  of  whom 
had  continually  urged  reforms  on  the  Sultan,  to  which  he 
had  turned  a  deaf  ear  ? 

With  regard  to  the  second  part  of  the  statement,  the 
Rajah  certainly  did  not  place  himself  in  a  position  in  which 
he  could  be  deceived.  He  conducted  all  negotiations  and 
all  inquiries  himself,  and  on  the  spot.  He  was  no  more 
deceived  as  to  the  true  state  of  affairs  than  were  Sir  William 
Treacher,  Dr.  Leys  (Consul-General),  Sir  F.  Weld,  and  Sir 
Hugh  Low.  I-t  is,  moreover,  not  correct  that  the  Rajah's 
officers  subsequently  made  the  great  discovery  that  is  attri- 
buted to  them.  Sir  Spenser  might  well  have  been  a  little 
more  explicit  as  to  this  last  remark.  He  agrees,  however, 
that  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  inhabitants  of  Limbang 
rejoiced  to  be  placed  under  the  Sarawak  flag. 

"  I  knew  them  well,  and  how  they  suffered  from  the 
exactions  of  the  Pangirans,  and  their  rapacious  followers, 
and  no  one  would  have  more  rejoiced  than  myself  to  hear 
that  they  had  been  put  under  Sarawak  rule  in  a  less  forcible 
way.  As  poverty  increased  in  Bruni,  so  had  the  exactions 
augmented,  and  Limbang,  being  near,  suffered  the  most. 
Perhaps  some  of  my  readers  may  think  that  in  this  case 
the  'end  did  justify  the  means.'  At  all  events,  that 
appears  to  have  been  the  view  taken  by  the  Foreign 
Office." 

Sir  Spenser  might  very  well  have  accepted  the  view- 
taken  by  the  Foreign  Office,  under  which  he  has  served  with 
distinction  for  many  years.  The  Foreign  Office  judged  upon 
facts  that  were  placed  before  it,  and  these  facts  Sir  Spenser 
had  not  under  his  eye  when  basing  this  unfair  criticism 
upon  the  Rajah's  proceedings. 

The  Limbang  having  been  annexed  in  1890,  a  Govern- 
ment station  was  established  some  fifteen  miles  from  the 
river's  mouth,  and  settlers,  both  Malay  and  Chinese,  soon 
arrived,  and   took   up   their   quarters   there  ;    indeed,  a   good 


356  A   HISTORY  OF  SARAWAK 

many   quitted    Bruni,   and   applied   for  sites    upon   which   to 
build  shops  and  houses  directly  the  flag  was  raised. 

The  station  is  now  a  flourishing  little  place,  and  has 
been  well  laid  out  by  Mr.  O.  F.  Ricketts,1  who  has  been 
Resident  there  since  its  establishment.  It  is  the  prettiest 
out-station  in  Sarawak  ;  has  miles  of  good  riding  roads,  a 
bazaar  that  is  well  attended  ;  and,  being  another  refuge  for 
the  oppressed,  the  Malay  population  is  continually  increasing. 
Mr.  Ricketts,  who  also  has  over-charge  of  the  Trusan  and 
Lawas  districts,  has  been  eminently  successful  in  his  manage- 
ment of  the  Muruts  and  Bisayas,  of  whom  he  has  had  some 
twenty  years'  experience,  and  is  popular  with  all  classes  at 
Bruni. 

In  reporting  on  Limbang  in  February,  1891,  Mr. 
Ricketts  observes :  "  since  the  occupation  of  the  river  in 
March  last,  matters  have  progressed  satisfactorily,  and  the 
inhabitants  have  shown  themselves  well  disposed  and  satisfied 
with  the  new  order  of  things,  with  the  exception  of  three  or 
four  of  the  Danau  chiefs,  who  have  been  incited  to  be  other- 
wise from  Bruni. 

"  Little  has  been  done  with  the  exception  of  visiting 
the  people,  who  at  all  times  have  been  allowed  to  trade 
freely  with  Bruni  ;  no  import  or  export  duties  have  been 
collected.  A  number  of  Brunis  have  come  into  the  river 
at  different  times  to  wash  sago,  who  previously  were  unable 
to  do  so,  owing  to  the  unsettled  state  of  the  place. 

"  Most  of  the  principal  Chinese  of  Bruni  have  been  over 
here  at  different  times,  and  have  expressed  their  wish  to 
commence  business  here.  One  firm  already  holds  one  of 
the  shops,  of  which  there  are  six,  the  others  being  held  by 
Sarawak  and  Labuan  Chinese  ;  one  sago  factory  is  in  course 
of  erection. 

"  There  has  been  no  revenue  for  the  year  ;  the  ex- 
penditure amounting  to  $11,8 1 2.  No  revenue  was 
demanded,  until  the  natives  settled  down,  and  had 
recovered  from  their  previous  unsettled  state.  The  ex- 
penditure  was   chiefly   in    public   buildings,  bungalows,  court 

1    Mr.  Ricketts,  who  is  a  son  of  the  first  British  Consul  to  Sarawak,  joined   in 


BRUM  I  357 

house,  barracks,  etc."  The  imports  and  exports  in  1906 
amounted  to  $282,277,  against  only  $86,687  in  1891. 

There  is  no  fort  at  Limbang. 

If  the  reader  will  look  at  the  map  he  will  see  that  a 
peninsula  or  horn  runs  out  from  Bruni,  sheltering  the  bay 
against  the  winds  and  waves  from  the  north-west.  Labuan 
is  actually  a  continuation  of  the  same,  but  the  belt  of  land 
has  been  broken  through,  leaving  only  Labuan  and  a  few 
little  islands  rising  above  the  surface  of  the  ocean.  At  the 
extreme  point  of  the  promontory  is  a  lighthouse  erected  by 
the  Rajah.  This  promo